Published Tuesday, 21 January 2014
Jurors were warned to expect distressing evidence. (© UTV)
Two brothers and another man - described as a family friend - have gone on trial, accused of a multitude of sex offences.
The three defendants, who cannot be named to protect the identities of their alleged victims, have denied the 56 charges against them dating back to the 1990s. The charges include rapes and other very serious sexual offences.
The allegations against them have come from the daughter and son of one of the defendants.
They claimed they were abused for most of the 1990s, beginning when the girl was seven and the boy was just six.
They alleged that they were subjected to prolonged physical abuse - beatings, throttlings, being burnt with cigarettes which then escalated into serious sexual assaults including multiple rapes.
Opening the prosecution case, a barrister alleged the attacks happened when the boy and girl - who are now adults - were on access visits to the home of their estranged father.
A jury at Coleraine Courthouse was told on Tuesday that the father used his home as a place where the children could be subjected to horrific sexual violence.
Jurors were warned to expect distressing evidence and they heard of one allegation that a number of men at a drinking party played cards, with the winner getting to rape the girl first.
The jury of six women and six men heard the alleged abuse began in 1990, continuing for several years and ending when the girl was 14 and the boy was 11.
Trial judge Gordon Kerr QC was told they went to the police in May 2012, and the three defendants were arrested a short time later.
The three men deny the charges. Their trial is expected to last for a number of weeks.
© UTV News