A pedophile priest told his 7-year-old victim he could get his dead grandfather into heaven if he performed a sex act on him, Belfast Crown court has heard.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that the boy was concerned about his grandfather being in purgatory but the former priest James Martin Donaghy told the child "he could get him into heaven if he helped him" by performing a sex act.

In February last year, Donaghy, who is originally from Lady Wallace Drive, Lisburn, was jailed for ten years after he was convicted of a total of 23 sex offences against three victims over a 17-year period, the BBC reports.

When jailing Donaghy last year, Judge Patrick Lynch QC described him as a "ruthless individual" and "sexual predator" who used his "domineering personality" to abuse the teenagers.

Last month Donaghy pleaded guilty to four charges of indecently assaulting a school boy and one common assault against the schoolboy between January and May 1989.

Prosecutor Ken McMahon told the court that Donaghy was training the school boy for his first confession and communion when the abuse began.

The court heard that "the defendant said that this was to get his grandfather into heaven and that if he told anyone it would not work," said the lawyer.

A few days later the boy went to confession, but when he went into the confessional box he discovered Donaghy on the other side of the partition.

The victim, now 31,  finally told police about the incident in 2010, after he opened up to his wife about being abused as a child.

Judge Kinney adjourned sentencing until Friday.