Former soldier jailed for abusing girl, 12, whilst on home leave in Belfast 2 months ago

Former soldier jailed for abusing girl, 12, whilst on home leave in Belfast

He accepted the victim's version of events.

A former soldier who sexually abused a 12-year old girl whilst on home leave has been jailed for two years.

Thomas John Lowry, who had served in Iraq as a Royal Engineer with the British Army, admitted to abusing the girl during a period around Christmas 2011.

He was 23 and had been on home leave in Belfast at the time, per reports.

He also exchanged sexual texts with the girl and in July 2013, he persuaded her to send him sexual pictures of herself.

The victim reported what happened to her in 2019.

During a police interview, Lowry said he had little recollection of what had happened as he was drunk at the time. He accepted the girl's version of events.

Now 22, the victim attended the hearing and watched as he was led into custody.

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Judge Donna McColgan QC told Belfast Crown Court it was clear from the woman's victim impact statement that she had suffered significantly as a result of the abuse.

John Kearney QC, for the defence, said the offending was a "serious matter that should never have happened".

He said Lowry, now 32 and a married father-of-five, "struggled with military life" and had turned to alcohol to cope.

Lowry left the army at 26.

Judge McColgan said she had taken the impact on the victim into account as well as considering Lowry's personal circumstances such as his guilty plea, the trauma suffered from his army experiences, and his acceptance of the victim's version of events.

She sentenced Lowry to four years, two in custody and two on licence.

If you have been affected by any of the details of this article, you can contact Women's Aid's 24 hour helpline on 1800 341 900, the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre on  1800 77 8888, or Childline on 1800 66 66 66.