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Dublin: 2°C Thursday 20 January 2022

Sisters abused by stepfather say they will never forgive mother who stood by him

“I am a mother myself and I would never do that to my kids.”

Image: Shutterstock/wavebreakmedia

TWO WOMEN WHOSE stepfather was yesterday jailed for eight years with the final 18 months suspended have said they will never forgive him or their mother.

Emma and Vanessa Witherow from Tipperary waived their right to anonymity so that John Joe Patterson, 55, who ran a Christmas hamper delivery business in Co Tipperary, could be named in the media.

Patterson’s wife Frances, the girls’ mother, stood by him, despite his guilty plea.

Speaking to Pat Kenny on Newstalk FM today, Emma said that she was “still in shock” and “relieved” about the sentence.

Vanessa said that it was a “long road” to justice for herself and her sister, who were abused for a decade.

“I was expecting him to get more [time in prison] but at least we have some closure,” said Emma who said that there was “no closure with my mother”.

I am a mother myself and I would never do that to my kids.

Vanessa said that Frances “did not deserve the word mother”.

“She picked him over us and I hope she regrets it.”

Speaking outside court yesterday, Vanessa said that their relationship would never be mended.

It’s a mother’s job to protect her children and she didn’t protect us.

“She let us down.

“Never will I speak to her again.”

Emma told Kenny that she left the house with her sister when she was 18 and Vanessa was 13.

Both girls had been abused since the age of nine.

Emma said that Frances told her that she was worried about “having no-one” if she sided with her daughters.

Emma said that she would like to see her mother face charges for not reporting the crimes.

They both said that they were called liars in the build-up to the case and had lost contact with their brothers.

“It was very hurtful. We weren’t lying, we were telling the truth, and [the sentence] proved it,” said Vanessa.

“To be constantly called liars over and over again was so hard. But (our allegations) are proven, and it’s closed today, and everyone knows now we were telling the truth,” added Emma.

Both said that they now see themselves as survivors, and paid tribute to the gardaí who

Read: Man who abused stepdaughters over decade represents “dark underbelly of Irish family life”

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