‘Bravery’ of victims commended as childminder’s husband jailed for abusing children

‘Bravery’ of victims commended as childminder’s husband jailed for abusing children

A 64-YEAR-OLD man has been jailed for sexually abusing two children while they were in the care of his wife who worked as a childminder.

Damien Craig, a former senior civil servant from Bishop's Brae Avenue in Downpatrick, Co. Down, was sentenced at Downpatrick Crown Court yesterday afternoon.

He had previously admitted six counts of sexual assault concerning two young girls who were being looked after by his wife.

The court heard that Craig sexually assaulted one of the victims twice in September 2022 and that the media coverage of that case prompted the second victim to come forward.

Yesterday Judge Geoffrey Miller KC told the court that the abuse had "a fundamental effect" on both victims, adding that he had “taken advantage” of his wife’s role as a childminder “to commit these acts, thus betraying the children, their families and also his own wife".

Craig was sentenced to eight years, of which will serve four years in custody and the remaining four years on licence.

He will also be placed on the Sex Offenders Register for an indefinite period and will be subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) for 10 years.

Speaking after the sentencing, the PSNI’s Dective Inspector Emma Lynch said: “Our thoughts today, are with the young victims that this man preyed on, and their families.

“No child should ever have to suffer this type of horrific abuse.

“We want to thank them for their bravery in coming forward, and their families for working with detectives to bring this abuser to justice.”

She added: “Craig took advantage of these children in the worst possible way and committed these despicable offences over a period of time.

“Our Public Protection Branch specialist detectives are trained to investigate this type of crime and we will continue to empower victims to come forward and educate adults on how to spot the signs of abuse.

“If you are concerned that a child may be being abused, or you have been the victim of sexual abuse. Please come forward to us by calling 101, or in an emergency call 999. Don’t suffer in silence.”