March 2013

Monster laughs in face of daughter he raped as his jail term begins


An unrepentant paedophile laughed at the weeping daughter he once raped as he was led from the dock to start at a nine-and-a-half-year sentence.

As 63-year-old James McKenzie was taken away from Belfast Crown Court in handcuffs, he laughed at his tearful daughter who was sitting just a few feet away in the public gallery.

His daughter, who was just 15 years old when her father raped her in the downstairs bathroom of the family home in Ballyclare, bravely waived her legal right to anonymity so that the sexual predator can be named and shamed in public.

At the end of his trial last month, a jury convicted McKenzie of a single count of rape by a majority verdict of 10 to two.

It happened on May Day in Ballyclare when McKenzie’s teenage daughter had a day off school.

On the promise of giving her money to go on the amusements at the popular town fair, McKenzie took his daughter into the downstairs bathroom, ordered her to take her trousers off and then raped her.

Giving evidence to the jury, his daughter recounted how “I would not have said no to him – I was terrified of him”.

Yesterday prosecuting QC Margaret-Ann Dinsmore told the court how McKenzie’s attack had left his daughter suffering emotionally for many years.

She said that a further “unambiguous and clear” aggravating factor was the “magnitude of the breach of trust” McKenzie had committed.

The lawyer added also that McKenzie’s culpability was high and that he posed a risk to the public, while she could identify no mitigating factors in the case.

As well as the jail term for what Judge David McFarland described as “an appalling breach of trust”, he ordered McKenzie to sign the police sex offenders register for the rest of his life.

The judge also put in place a lifetime Sexual Offences Prevention Order to protect the public, barring McKenzie from ever contacting his daughter, having unsupervised contact with children and from living anywhere without approval from social services.

The jury of seven men and five women failed to reach verdicts on 22 other charges of rape and sexual abuse allegedly committed on dates between September 1, 1980 and May 31, 1988.

However, McKenzie will not be retried on those charges.