Former DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson released on bail over sex charges

Former DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson released on bail over sex charges

Jonathan McCambridge, PA

Former DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has been released on continuing bail after he appeared at Newry Magistrates’ Court to face a number of historical sex charges, including one count of rape.

Mr Donaldson’s wife, Lady Eleanor Donaldson, also appeared in court to face charges in relation to the same police investigation.

During a brief court hearing, the charges were read to the Lagan Valley MP and his wife as they stood in the dock.


Sir Jeffrey Donaldson court case
Members of the media awaiting the arrival of former DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson. Photo: Niall Carson/PA.

Mr Donaldson (61) faces 11 charges including one of rape, one of committing an act of gross indecency and nine of indecent assault on dates between 1985 and 2006.

The offences relate to two alleged victims.


His wife, Eleanor Mary Elizabeth Donaldson (58), of Dromore, faces charges of aiding and abetting in connection with the alleged offences.

Mr Donaldson has resigned as DUP leader and was suspended from the party.

East Belfast MP and deputy leader Gavin Robinson was appointed interim party leader.

Mr Donaldson has so far remained as MP for Lagan Valley.

The two defendants were released on continuing bail.

The case will be mentioned again on May 22nd, but they do not have to attend on that date.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800-77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/ or visit Rape Crisis Help.