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Dublin: 4°C Saturday 27 February 2021

Grandfather who raped his niece on Christmas night remanded in custody

The woman only reported the offence when she discovered her uncle had circulated a letter to his family.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

A GRANDFATHER WHO raped his 41-year-old niece as she slept in her own home on Christmas night 2014, has been remanded in custody pending sentencing next week.

The 62-year-old Dublin man, who cannot be named in order to protect his victim’s identity, denied the offence and claimed to have taken a lie-detector test.

However, he was found guilty by a jury after a four-day trial at the Central Criminal Court last month.

At the sentence hearing yesterday, the court heard the woman only reported the case to gardaí three months after the offence when she discovered her uncle had circulated a letter to his family with a lie-detector test attached.

Her uncle had claimed that his niece had participated in consensual oral sex which led to sexual intercourse.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt said the man had made a “catastrophic misjudgment, followed by a second catastrophic misjudgement”, and that the only option for such an offence was a custodial sentence.

“God knows what he thought he was doing; there was nothing in the background relationship between these two people to suggest anything,” said the judge.

Mr Justice Hunt said it was an “astonishing” feature of the case that the victim was “prepared to leave it lying, and he went out looking for trouble”.


Desmond Dockery SC, prosecuting, said the woman was part of a closely-knit extended family which was now “sundered” because of the rape.

Garda Janice Farrelly told the court that the woman, now aged 44, had previously had a very good, friendly relationship with her uncle with nothing untoward.

On Christmas Day 2014, the woman had hosted dinner for a large number of extended family members including the accused man, his partner and son.

As the evening wore on, the woman’s sister went upstairs to sleep in the victim’s bed.

The woman went upstairs between 3am and 4am followed by her uncle, who was supposed to be sleeping in another box room.

The woman got into bed fully-clothed beside her sleeping sister. Her uncle sat on the bed and there was some banter between them which woke up her sister.

The woman said her uncle started tickling her feet and she told him to “get stuffed” and fell off to sleep herself.

Her sister, having been woken up, went back to her own home.

The victim was awoken later by a sensation that her leggings and underwear had been pulled quickly down her legs and she had been penetrated. Her uncle was on top of her and she screamed at him to get off; he replied that he didn’t know it was her.


There was a “hysterical scene” and the woman ran downstairs with nothing on her below the waist and drove in a “frantic fashion” to her sister’s house.

Garda Farrelly said that three months later in March 2014, the woman went to gardaí with a letter that her uncle had written and circulated to family members, along with a lie-detector test.

In the letter, the man said he had been in bed with his niece who was rubbing his feet and he knew “things were going the wrong way”.

He said his niece positioned herself so that they could have oral sex in which she participated fully, then they had sex.

The man cooperated with gardaí but maintained his version of events which was rejected by the jury.


The woman, who was not present in court, wrote a victim impact statement which was read out on her behalf.

She said she was attending counselling to help her deal with the trauma she had endured, but that she didn’t think she would ever understand why this “horrible crime” had happened to her.

She said she did not think she would ever be able to be in a relationship again and that her own and her children’s lives had been changed forever.

“This happened to me in my own home; a place where you’re supposed to feel secure and safe – I no longer feel safe in my own home,” she said.

She said she had trusted her uncle who had been “like a brother”, but that he had violated her.

“People used to describe me as positive, happy-go-lucky and confident, but I’m the opposite of that now,” she said.

The woman said she had repainted and redecorated her bedroom so many times but remained haunted by what happened to her.

She said the trauma had totally destroyed her parents and that their health had deteriorated.

Sean Gillane SC, defending, said the man had no previous convictions and had worked all his life since leaving school early.

The court heard the man was “good and decent” father and was deeply committed to his wife.

He has had poor health in recent years including a heart attack in 2000.

The man was jailed pending sentencing next Thursday.

About the author:

Jessica Magee

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