A former circus strongman and convicted sex offender found guilty of historic sexual abuse of a female child, having branded her and his previous victims “miniature gold-diggers” has been jailed. 

David Edward Parkinson (80) of University Street, Belfast but previously from Fermanagh, stood trial on 12 charges between 1976 and 1983, including rape, gross indecency and indecent assault.

He rubbished the allegations at Dungannon Crown Court and when confronted with numerous previous similar convictions claimed he was “set up”.

The victim described him regularly visiting her family home where he asked her to clean the caravan he then resided in near Brookeborough.

She agreed and found the caravan, “extremely dirty, with coins scattered across the floor”.

Parkinson said she could keep the coins she swept up and while doing this, he allegedly exposed himself.

From there he moved to a house in Maguiresbridge and again asked her to clean for him.

Coins were similarly scattered over the floor and this was where regular abuse occurred.

The victim initially attended with police in 2009 but felt unable to go through the process however by 2020, she gathered the strength.

Branding her “a liar” and “a good actress”, Parkinson insisted he never gave her money, nor was she in his caravan.

Challenged on his honesty Parkinson replied: “I’ve taken an oath. I’m here to tell the truth. When I take an oath, I never break it.”

He dismissed ingratiating himself to the young girl using money, adding: “I’ve always had girlfriends my own age.”

The prosecution enquired if he was contending the victim had lied, Parkinson replied: “In short, yes. It’s rubbish. It’s not in my nature to do anything as horrible as that.”

When reminded his previous convictions demonstrated his “nature” Parkinson responded: “That didn’t happen. I was found guilty … I was actually set up …. They were probably programmed to tell lies.”

Asked if he was suggesting the latest victim had lied, Parkinson said: “Definitely. It was like a miniature goldrush. She probably said she’d have some of that. They read about things like this. They invent it and change the wording.”

The prosecution asked: “Are you saying all these people are liars apart from you?”

Parkinson replied: “They are all miniature gold-diggers.”

But the jury disagreed and after deliberating for slightly over an hour, returned guilty verdicts on all 12 counts.

Having been on bail up to that point, Parkinson was immediately remanded in custody, appearing again today (Friday) for sentencing.

Judge Brian Sherrard told him: “The campaign of abuse (was) aggravated by factors including financial bribe. The impact of the victim is palpable. You placed this vulnerable woman in the situation where she had to be cross-examined in court. You cast aspersions upon her and maintained this in your pre-sentence report … Your offending caused terrible consequences to this victim in her young and then adult life …Despite The court heard Parkinson’s life has been taken up with prison sentences since 2007 for similar offending against females, whom he “Groomed using your position as a well-known person.”

Imposing a further sentence of six years imprisonment Judge Sherrard added he could not overlook, despite being found guilty, Parkinson maintains his innocence, “Not just in this, but all previous convictions. Also, despite all the evidence to the contrary you maintain you have no sexual interest in children. You have a 30-year history of attacks on pre-pubescent girls. Actions speak louder than words … You demonstrate deviant sexual interest.”

Parkinson will remain on the Sex Offender Register for life.