Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

McKenna questioned further after more alleged victims come forward

Former Crossmaglen man Thomas McKenna who is accused of a litany of sexual offence against young men and children, faced further police questioning last week after more alleged victims came forward.

Appearing in Newry Magistrates Court on Wednesday, the 59-year-old ex-treasurer of Crossmaglen Rangers GFC was released into police custody where he was quizzed about new allegations.

A detective sergeant leading the investigation told the court she wanted to hold McKenna for 24 hours before bringing him back to court, confirming “that the accused is not in custody for the offences for which he is about to be interviewed”.

McKenna, who is being held in Maghaberry prison, is currently accused of the sexual abuse of 12 victims with the offences having been committed over a span of almost 30 years.

One set of charges involve 10 offences against three males including five counts of sexual assault, three counts of indecent assault and single counts of buggery and attempted buggery.

On a second indictment, he faces a total of 17 charges alleged to have been committed between 1988 and his arrest in August last year.  They include two counts of buggery against persons aged over 16 without consent, and two gross indecency offences, one of which was against a child.

He is also charged with sexual assault, voyeurism and eight counts of indecent assault, along with making and possessing indecent photographs of children.

A retired postman, McKenna is also alleged to have interfered with mail during his time of employment.

Previous courts have heard that the “serious and complex investigation” involves alleged victims who claim the accused either sexually abused them or took photos and videos of them without their permission.

Police searches led to the recovery of devices said to contain 43,000 still images and 8,000 short video clips – some allegedly taken covertly.