A loyalist paramilitary who sexually assaulted a teenage girl in her apartment while she was paying off a family loan was jailed on Friday.
Jackie Greer Johnston – who is currently serving time for similar sex offenses – was sentenced to three years and four months, split evenly between prison and license.
Downpatrick Crown Court Judge Geoffrey Miller QC called a statement made by the victim “heartbreaking” and said Johnston used her “perceived status and position” to intimidate and abuse her.
Despite his initial denials, the 51-year-old admitted four counts of indecent assault on the girl between June 1999 and June 2001.
In May 2017, the victim reported to PSNI that she was assaulted by Johnston when she was 14 to 15 years old.
She told police that in 1999 a relative borrowed money from Johnston to buy a sofa and that once a week after school she was given £ 20 to give Johnston back on the loan.
While in his West Green apartment in Holywood, Johnston abused the teenager for a period of a year.
On one occasion, someone knocked on the door, prompting Johnston to grab her by the throat and place his hand over her mouth.
She also recalled an incident in which Johnston stopped her car in Holywood, told her to get in, and then drove her to Craigantlet Hills where he again abused her.
Following his complaint filed in 2017, police opened an investigation and Johnston was arrested in June 2019.
He said he knew the girl “to see” and her parent “might” have borrowed money from him – Buy denied mistreating her.
Justice Miller said one of the only mitigating factors was Johnston’s eventual plea, which saved the women the ordeal of testifying at a trial.
The judge said that after reading a statement she made, there had been a traumatic impact on all aspects of her life as she relived the abuse she suffered as a teenager.
He added: “One can only hope that as a result of today’s proceedings, steps can be taken to help him rebuild his life.”
Turning to Johnston, the judge described him as a man “involved in loyalist paramilitary activity” who was exiled to Kent in 2009 due to a feud.
Noting that he had an “extensive and highly relevant criminal record” for similar offenses, Judge Miller said there was “no doubt” that he was using his statute to intimidate and control all of his victims.
Johnston appeared for his conviction via video link to Maghaberry, and after it was imposed, Judge Miller told prison staff that “the accused may be returned to his cell.”