March 2016

Exposed: Ballyclare sex attacker Jordan Kernoghan

A man who tortured, humiliated and sexually abused his best friend failed in a High Court bid on Saturday to prevent Sunday Life revealing his identity.

Ballyclare man Jordan Kernoghan (pictured above) is today revealed as the violent sex offender who helped Darren Fu (pictured below) subject 17-year-old pal Aodhan Woods to hours of hell at a flat in south Belfast.

Would-be rock guitarist Kernoghan, who turns 19 in April, was Aodhan’s best friend and the pair had been studying music together at college in Bangor.

Last night brave Aodhan Woods said he was “over the moon” that the High Court had rejected former pal Kernoghan’s bid to stop Sunday Life naming him.

“I finally feel like after all this time I can finally start to move on,” said a relieved Aodhan.

“It’s such a weight off my shoulders — it’s the closure that I needed.”

Fu and Kernoghan, then 17, subjected terrified Aodhan to violent and degrading attacks at Fu’s flat in Stranmillis in May 2014.

A pillowcase was placed over Aodhan’s head with towels also wrapped around and “held in place with a belt” before he was subjected to several serious sexual assaults.

The twisted duo even used a drumstick and a microphone stand to inflict “extreme discomfort” on Aodhan.

Kernoghan, who tried to stop Sunday Life publishing his details, even used a fake name on Facebook to hide his identity while showing off his new fiancée.

“I couldn’t understand why Jordan was never named, because he’s an adult, but I didn’t think there was anything we could do,” said Belfast Met student Aodhan.

“It felt like he’d kind of got away with it. But I’ve learned recently that I never really actually knew that much about him.

“The three of us were best friends when this happened — I was with them near enough every day.

“Jordan was in my tech class at SERC in Bangor and then I met Darren [Fu] on a website called Join My Band. It was mainly music that we all enjoyed but the three of us just got on really well and liked a lot of the same things.

“I just never ever expected something like that to happen. It was unbelievable.

“I feel like it’s one thing if it’s a stranger but it’s another if it’s your mates, and your best ones at that.

“I trusted them and that’s why now I have trust issues. I don’t trust people after what they did and it’ll take a long time to build that back up.”

Aodhan, who has courageously spoken out about his ordeal in an attempt to help other victims, has recently been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Jordan Kernoghan was sentenced alongside Darren Fu for the attacks on Woods last week. He received a six-year sentence — three in custody at a Young Offenders Centre and three on licence.

But while Fu was named and shamed, Kernoghan remained anonymous because he was mistakenly identified as a ‘youth’ in court papers and journalists believed he could not be identified.

When Sunday Life established there was no court order to prevent Kernoghan being named, the sex attacker rushed to seek an interim injunction barring us from naming him today.

In the High Court yesterday, his lawyer argued that identifying Kernoghan would impinge on his Article 2 rights under the European Convention of Human Rights.

In an affidavit, Kernoghan’s solicitor said he had been instructed by his mother that “she is extremely concerned about the likely impact upon the plaintiff’s health and well-being, were his identity to be made public”.

A lawyer said Kernoghan had a history of self harm and suicide attempts, had been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and was a vulnerable individual. He asked for a temporary injuction to allow time for an assessment of client by a suitable clinician.

But Mr Justice John O’Hara rejected Kernoghan’s injunction bid after considering medical reports on the convicted sex offender.

He said Kernoghan’s reported history of self-harming and suicide attempts took place in his early teens and were, in his reading, related to his use of drugs and alcohol. But he said a more recent medical report indicated that Kernoghan displayed significant and sustained improved improvement and was not considered at risk of self harming.

The judge quoted Kernoghan himself telling the doctor about how he had made good progress — he was off the drugs, had got his own house and had a fiancée.

 The judge accepted Kernoghan had been diagnosed with Asperger’s and would require ongoing treatment.

But Mr Justice O’Hara said there was a public interest in not giving anonymity to violent offenders and the publication of their names also acted a deterrent to others.

He said it was obviously regrettable that any person should suffer from Asperger’s but this was not a justification for granting anonymity to a violent offender.

Sunday Life was not legally represented at the hearing but news editor Stephen Gordon spoke on the newspaper’s behalf.

On hearing the judge’s decision, a delighted Aodhan Woods said: “I’m just so glad that people finally know who he is and what he’s done.

“I thought Jordan’s friends might wonder where he’d gone if he just mysteriously disappeared for three years but I know a lot of them don’t have a clue what’s happened because he was never named in court.

“I could never forgive them for what they did. I couldn’t even look at them again, but thankfully I won’t have to.

“This is the closure I feel I deserved and now I can try to get on with my life. I’m so happy.”