Newry man admits sex crimes ahead of trial
Tuesday, 1 October 2013
A NEWRY man has pleaded guilty to a catalogue of historical sex crimes that saw his victims bound and blindfolded as he attempted to rape them.
Sean Heaton of John Martin Street had maintained his innocence since his arrest in 2011, with his legal representative telling a previous High Court bail hearing that he "unequivocally denies" any involvement in the 2002 and 2006 attacks.
But last week, with the jury set to be sworn in for the 48-year-old's trial, Heaton changed his plea to guilty on 11 counts - two of false imprisonment, attempted rape, five indecent assaults, making threats to kill, robbery and assault with intent to rape. Charges relating to another alleged attack in 2004 have not proceeded.
Seven of the charges he's admitted date to January 14, 2002. On that date an 18-year-old girl was attacked from behind and dragged into an alleyway in the John Martin Street area of Newry. Heaton blindfolded the victim and tied her hands behind her back before subjecting the teenager to a prolonged sex attack.
The remaining counts relate to August 27, 2006 when Heaton - wearing a balaclava and latex gloves - pounced on a 42-year-old woman in the Mourne Drive area of Warrenpoint. The victim was dragged into an alleyway but fought fiercely against Heaton, pulling off his gloves which police later found at the scene.
On June 15 2011, after his arrest on a domestic violence matter, a swab taken from Heaton showed that his DNA matched that found on the pants and coat of the first victim and on the latex gloves found at the scene of the 2006 attack.
Heaton will be sentenced at Newry Crown Court on October 24.
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