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Home / News / Man jailed over sexual assault of ‘defenceless’ girls

Man jailed over sexual assault of ‘defenceless’ girls

A man who sexually assaulted his daughter and niece when they were “defenceless girls” has been jailed for seven years.

The man, who is now in his early 70s, was found guilty of four counts of indecent assault and 21 counts of sexual assault against his daughter and four counts of indecent assault and eight counts of sexual assault against his niece dating back to the early 1990s. The abuse took place in a house in the Leinster area.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the identities of the injured parties, has no previous convictions and maintains his innocence.

Passing sentence today, Judge Orla Crowe said the man behaved “with impunity towards these little girls” and his actions were a violation of their childhood and sense of safety.

She said the aggravating factors included the breach of trust and the duration of the offending. Judge Crowe also noted the young ages of the victims – the man’s daughter was aged between six and 12 when the offending occurred, while his niece was between 11 and 12.

The judge said she took into account the mitigation including the man’s lack of previous convictions, his age and health.

She said the court would impose consecutive sentences to reflect “the gravity of offending” against these two “defenceless girls” who should have been able to rely on the man.

Judge Crowe handed the man a global sentence of three-and-a-half years in relation to the offending against his daughter. She imposed a consecutive sentence of three-and-a-half years in respect of the offences against his niece and backdated the sentence to 28 February last, when he went into custody.

A local detective told Marc Thompson, BL, prosecuting, that in July 2018, both injured parties gave statements to the gardaí.

The first victim told gardaí that her father would come into her bedroom at night and would digitally penetrate her. This offending occurred on a regular basis from when the girl was aged six until she was about 12.

The court heard that the girl would sometimes sleep in a sleeping bag or sleep up against a wall to try and stop the abuse from happening, but she was unsuccessful. A family member gave evidence during the trial that the girl would become very stressed when she would be left at home with her father.

In 2003, the girl told her siblings about the past abuse, and they confronted their dad and asked him to leave the family home, which he did.

After the abuse allegations became known within the family, another family member, the second victim, came forward and disclosed that she also had been abused by the man. The abuse was similar in nature and lasted for two years when the girl was aged 11 and 12.

The daughter of the defendant read her victim impact statement to the court, which said: “The abuse I experienced in my childhood continues to have an impact on my life today.”

“I have struggled with things that should come naturally. Becoming a mother was a scary time for me.”

“The panic when anyone would check on my children when they were sleeping.”

She described “lacking a feeling of self-worth and self-confidence” and “battles with anxiety, depression, nightmares and flashbacks”.

“What happened to me made me weak and vulnerable then and now.

“What happened to me was not my fault. It was his. He was an adult, and I was a child”.

“My father was the man who was supposed to protect me. I said in my evidence there are no winners here, regardless of the verdict.”

“The guilty verdict was the acknowledgement that I deserve, and the child within me deserves.

“You were my father, and I loved you, but now I’m moving on and closing that chapter in my life.

“It is time to move forward.”

The second injured party in this case, a niece of the accused, read her victim impact statement to the court, which said: “At 11, I did not understand what was happening. I understood that your actions did not make me feel good, but dirty and ashamed”.

“I was afraid to go to sleep, and the chill of his footsteps on the stairs, knowing that evil was about to enter.”

“The feeling of shame and self-worth carried with me into my adult life. As an adult, I slept with the bedroom door locked and the light on.”

“Your actions rippled through our family”.

The detective agreed with Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha, SC, defending, that no other allegations have been made against his client and he complied with all conditions while on bail.

The garda agreed with counsel that the defendant had “worked extremely hard” all his life and that he had paid child maintenance, to which the detective replied, “Yes, for a period of time”.

The detective further agreed that the man had been found guilty after a retrial on a majority verdict after a jury failed to reach a verdict in the original trial.

Mr Ó Lideadha said his client maintains his innocence.

Counsel said the man has significant medical conditions and highlighted that while he has been in custody, some of the necessary medical treatments and assessment have not taken place.

Mr Ó Lideadha handed letters from the man’s sister and another niece to the court, which outlined the positive contribution the man has made to their lives.

He asked the court not to impose a consecutive sentence.

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