Northern Ireland

Convicted rapist Joseph McCabe admits sex register breach

A convicted rapist from Northern Ireland who went on the run in the Irish Republic has admitted breaching the terms of the police sex offenders register.

Joseph McCabe, 29, pleaded guilty at Belfast Crown Court to failing to notify police of his intention to travel outside the UK.

Released from jail last April, McCabe and another convict went on the run to County Donegal.

The pair later handed themselves in.

McCabe, originally from west Belfast but now with an address at a city centre hostel, went on the run after serving half of a 14-year jail term for the rape and burglary of a pensioner, sparking an island-wide manhunt.

On 1 February 2005, McCabe and another man broke into the home of a then aged 64-year-old woman and subjected her to what a judge described as a "terrifying prolonged ordeal" and a violent sexual offence carried out with "significant gratuitous violence".

Last May, Judge Kevin Finnegan QC, who originally jailed McCabe for the pensioner's rape, suspended his licence for a year, sending him back into custody for 12 months.

On Thursday, the judge adjourned passing sentence in the breach matters until pre-sentence probation reports have been compiled next month.