‘Big Dave’ Parkinson — a 21-stone power-lifter from Co Fermanagh — was told he had taken advantage of the confidence and trust of his victims to satisfy his “disgusting and depraved lust”.
At his trial in February he was convicted of 17 counts of abuse — including three rapes — on three girls aged between six and 10 during a four-year period in the early 1990s.
Jailing Parkinson yesterday, Judge Piers Grant said he had “hidden behind the facade of decency and reputation” to carry out the “outrageous offences”.
The 66-year-old, of Main Street in Brookeborough, showed no emotion as the sentence was handed down during a 30-minute hearing at Dungannon Courthouse.
Highly respected in sporting and charity circles, Parkinson had regularly appeared on television and became a household name after a series of novelty lifts.
In 1974 Parkinson entered the Guinness Book of Records when he became the world beer barrel-lifting champion during the World Beer Show at Earls Court in London.
The trial heard details of how Parkinson raped one of his victims three times, bribed another to touch his genitals in return for cash, and forced a third to perform a sex act on him.
Described by one of his victims as “like a giant to small children”, he forced one to watch a pornographic video before raping her, warning the terrified child that her family would “disappear” if she told anyone.
Parkinson had lured the girls to his home using “the money game”, during which he threw money over a wall, encouraging the children to follow it. The judge said a lengthy custodial sentence was the only suitable punishment, adding there was a “very real risk” Parkinson would reoffend.
Jailing Parkinson for a total of 15 years, Judge Grant paid tribute to the courage and bravery which the victims had shown in coming forward.
Parkinson was also placed of the sex offenders’ register and was told he must not engage in any association or activity with children.
Two of Parkinson’s victims were in court to hear the sentence passed down.
One said: “No one should have to suffer that — I suffered it long enough.
“I’m pleased with the sentence but just relieved that it’s all over.”
She said she now wanted to forget her ordeal and try and rebuild her life, but appealed for other victims of sex abuse to come forward.
“Just don’t be afraid,” she added.
“The courts are there to help people. It has been very distressing but I’ve come out better from it.”
This is the second time Parkinson has been convicted of abusing children. In 2007 he confessed to being a paedophile and was jailed for two years for indecently assaulting an eight-year-old girl.
This article is from The Belfast Telegraph