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Tuesday 5 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Shutterstock/Thomas Andre Fure

'I am traumatised to the core': Girl sexually abused as 12 year-old by teenager she met on Snapchat

The girl’s victim impact statement was read at Ennis Circuit Court today.

A CO CLARE teenager has told a court that she wants justice for the sexual abuse perpetrated on her by a “vile creature” when she was 12 years old.

At Ennis Circuit Court, the secondary school girl told the court in a hard-hitting victim impact statement: “I am so angry, fed up, utterly disgusted and traumatised to the core.”

The teenager – now aged 17 – said that her life has only gone downhill since the accused “abused me at such a young age”.

In the case, the accused – now aged 22 but aged 17 at the time – has pleaded guilty to seven counts of sexual assault against the female between 24 October and April 2015.

The two, who come from the same part of Clare and went to the same secondary school at the time, made direct contact initially anonymously through Snapchat and then met in person shortly after.

One of the counts of sexual assault took place in the grounds of a local primary school.

Detective Sergeant Kevin O’Hagan told the court that the girl’s mother made contact with authorities in April 2015 after her daughter said something distressing to her.

The garda said that after the anonymous Snapchat game of ‘Shift or Pass’, the two made direct contact and exchanged photos that were sexual in nature.

The two shortly met in person after and the majority of the counts of alleged sexual assault took place at then 17 year-old teenage boy’s family home.

The age difference between the two is four-and-a-half years.

Counsel for the accused, Mark Nicholas SC said that there was no sense of coercion or threat of violence concerning the sexual assaults.

Victim impact statement

The complainant attended court to deliver her victim impact statement and said: “I have never despised anyone in my life except this person”.

“I am writing this today with pure hatred and sorrow in my heart. He has taken so much from me and I will never be able to live a normal life because of that vile creature.

“I started self-harming at the age of 12 and have not been able to stop since. I was so lost and traumatised that I had no idea what was happening to me.

“I continued to self-harm as I got older and still do… I have been in therapy for years and it has still not resolved the mess he has made of my mind.

“I now have permanent scars on my body, which I have to hide out of shame and to hide from the judgement of others.

“Along with the abundance of self harm, I have had to cope with suicidal thoughts I have had since the age of 12.

“I have wanted to end it all too many times. I was only a young, innocent, cheerful girl and he took that.

“I will have to cope with suicidal thoughts forever now and he did this to me.”

Panic attacks

The girl also said that soon after their interaction, sh experienced intense panic attacks every day, sometimes several times a day.

“I still get these panic attacks along with very vivid, graphic and repetitive flashbacks,” she said.

The teenager told the court that she had told her grandfather on his death-bed in about her plans to become a surgeon.

However, she said that the impact of the sexual assaults have been disruptive on her school studies.

She said: “To think that this man has stripped me of this aspiration has brought me such deep, dark sorrow.”

“What this person did to me will have an effect on my entire future and will make it more treacherous than I could’ve thought was possible.

“The abuse also turned me into a really bitter untrusting person at the age of 12. This person made me believe that all people were as bad as him.”

Family ‘torn apart’

The girl told the court that confiding in her close relatives tore her family apart, and that it has caused regular arguments among them.

“This destroyed the bond I had with my family and to this day I still felt so disconnected and alone from them,” she said.

“My life has only gone downhill since he abused me at such a young age. All I want now is justice.

“I want to live a life free of my past and try to muster as much happiness as I can with as little as I have left to live for.”

Counsel for the accused said that the complainant’s victim impact was “very brave” and would be “cathartic”.

But he also said that the statement “may be out of step with the thrust of the evidence”.

Counsel said that the issues of self-harm concerning the complainant didn’t all start with the accused.

He added that the counts are not sample counts and that they relate to particular events.

Mr Nicholas stated that the complainant told Gardai that she had a crush on the accused.

Detective O’Hagan said that the State accepted that the teenage girl had issues concerning self –harm before her contact with the accused, and said she was getting counselling for it.

The judge said he would require time to pass sentence and remanded the accused on continuing bail.

If you need to talk, support is available:

  • Samaritans 116 123 or email
  • Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
  • Pieta House 1800 247 247 or email (suicide, self-harm)
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

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