The shop boss' brother was jailed for sexual communication, sexual grooming and sexual assault on a 12-year-old girl
Miceala Gowdy (32), who owns a formalwear shop in Lurgan, was previously charged with harassing Gary Gowdy between New Year’s Day and February 18 this year.
The allegation covered the period that her older brother Gavin Gowdy (36) was on trial for sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl. He was later convicted and jailed.
During a hearing at Craigavon Magistrates Court on Wednesday, prosecutors withdrew the charge of harassment and confirmed police had issued a caution.
Gowdy, of Belvedere Manor in Lurgan, Co Armagh, was told by District Judge Bernie Kelly she may not have been so fortunate had she been a man. After granting the businesswoman legal aid, Judge Kelly said if the defendant had been male, she may not be getting “this outcome for these charges”.
“I will grant solicitor legal aid, but that’s it,” declared the judge. “I have to say, I do not think if it was the other way around there would be the same outcome.”
None of the facts in relation to the previously alleged harassment of her father were heard in court, but the trial and conviction of Gowdy’s brother for abusing a child created a bitter family feud.
Miceala took to social media to express her anger after brother Gavin was convicted and told us previously she had not harassed her father.
She said: “I had to close my business over all this. People don’t know the full story. I only texted my father. I didn’t do anything. I just messaged him asking him to help me. People are forgetting this is a father and daughter. I texted him twice and that’s it.”
Her brother, a former amateur footballer, was jailed for sexual communication, sexual grooming and sexual assault on a 12-year-old girl.
Craigavon Crown Court heard he sent text messages to the child in 2017 asking her if she had ever kissed anyone or had sex, before luring her to his home when he was drunk. He then “breathed on her neck” and sexually touched her on the leg, before asking her “do you want to?”, which Judge Roseanne McCormick QC accepted was a request for sex.
He was handed a three-year sentence in March, split between 12 months behind bars and the rest on licence, with Judge McCormick praising the victim’s “courage and resolve in taking part in the trial”.
She said: “I hope that the admission he has since made will help her come to terms with what he did when he exploited and abused her.”
The victim and her family told this newspaper they were happy Gowdy had been jailed but had hoped for a longer sentence.
They said: “At least he is behind bars now. This has taken a toll on us.
“It has traumatised our little girl for the rest of her life and is the root of all her mental health issues. This has been a nightmare.”