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A man who won the UK lotto has been remanded in custody, with consent to bail, after being charged with having sex with an underage girl in Ireland.
The man, who was arrested in Dublin last weekend after travelling by ferry from the UK allegedly to meet the mother of the girl, was granted bail on his own bond of €100,000 and two independent surities of €50,000 each. He is to appear in court again on Friday.
The man appeared on Tuesday before Judge Fiona Lydon at Dublin District Court charged with four counts of engaging in a sexual act with a child under the age of 17 years, on dates in 2016 and also this year. Sexual intercourse with a person under the age of consent (17), even with their consent, is statutory rape in Irish law.
It alleged that the man, whom the court heard had substantial money in his bank account from a UK lotto win, met the girl in an online chatroom when she was aged 15 and first came to Ireland to see her in 2016.
Garda Stephen Faulkner told the court that the man thereafter travelled from the UK every four to six week to meet the girl for sex in a Dublin hotel and gardaí had recovered videos of sexual activity from his phone.
There were regular communications with the girl through WhatsApp and Snapchat. The court heard that last year, the man, who is in his late 20s, allegedly bought the girl an engagement ring worth €2,500.
When the girl’s mother discovered the alleged relationship, she complained to gardaí in January.
Objecting to bail, the Garda said they feared the man would leave Ireland and might interfere with witnesses. He had come to Ireland, it was said, to confront the girl’s mother and speak to her about his feelings for the girl.
Bail was granted with conditions, including that the man reside at an address in Ireland and not contact any member of the girl’s family.