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'I just wanted to lie down and die so the pain would stop': Mother of abuse victim after cousin is sentenced to prison

Mr Justice Michael White condemned the “particularly severe and horrendous” nature of the abuse as he sentenced the man to 10 years in prison.

Image: Shutterstock/NWP

Note: Details in this court case might be distressing to read.

A CORK MAN who repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted his little cousin, from when she was aged between five and nine years old, has been jailed for eight years at the Central Criminal Court.

Mr Justice Michael White condemned the “particularly severe and horrendous” nature of the abuse as he sentenced the now 22-year-old man to 10 years in prison with the final two years suspended.

The man pleaded guilty to six charges including rape, oral rape, anal rape and sexual assault on dates between November 1, 2011 and June 26, 2016, in his Co Cork home.

He has no previous convictions.

Passing sentence today, Mr Justice White said the man’s crimes had had a “devastating impact” on the girl and her family and that the close bond that had previously existed between the two families had been shattered.

He said the child had been vaginally and anally raped, defiled by foreign objects and forced to carry out oral sex from when she was only five years old.

“He was a favoured first cousin. There was great trust placed in him by the girl’s parents. This was totally unexpected and out of the blue. It goes without saying that this has had a devastating impact on her. The court hopes that she can recover in time,” Mr Justice White added.

The judge set a headline sentence of 14 years but gave the man credit for his guilty plea, although pointing out that it came very late in the day. Other mitigating factors included the man’s youth, his mental health difficulties and social isolation.

Identified

The girl, now aged 12, previously expressed a wish to have her cousin identified in the reporting of the case as she wanted people to know that he was “in the wrong”.

Alice Fawsitt SC, prosecuting, said her instructions from the Director of Public Prosecutions were that it would not be in the girl’s best interests to have the 22-year-old man named.

“She is very angry and wants people to know that he is in the wrong,” Ms Fawsitt said, before adding that the DPP believes the man’s identification would cause “complications” for the girl as she said it was inevitable that she could be identified.

Mr Justice White said he appreciated the girl was angry and paid tribute to her courage in disclosing “these horrific crimes”. But he said the court also had “a wider duty to ensure that the identity of an injured party would be protected”.

The girl was first abused when she was five years’ old and she ultimately told her mother about it when she was nine. The accused was aged between 15 and 19 at the time.

During the abuse, the teenager raped his cousin both vaginally and anally, forced her to perform oral sex on him, performed oral sex on her and used a wand she had just been gifted to abuse her. He also drank the child’s urine.

Victim impact statement

Earlier, the child’s mother read a victim impact statement into the record on behalf of herself, her husband and her daughter, in order to “convey the damage to our daughter and our family” when the accused “raped and sexually abused our girl from the age of five”.

The mother outlined how as a family they had gone through hell, before speaking about an incident during which her daughter was abused by her cousin with a wand.

“She was thrilled when she got a present of that wand, little knowing that within hours it would be inserted into her body to abuse her.”

The woman described her daughter’s “courage and bravery to tell us what was happening,” adding “our lives fell apart”.

She said her daughter had to be tested for a sexually-transmitted infection at the age of nine.

“I just wanted to lie down and die so the pain would stop. I could not do this because my other children and my husband needed my support,” the woman continued.

She said she then made “a silent pact to get through this nightmare” not fully comprehending how hard it would be.

The woman said she lost “years of hugs and cuddles” because her daughter would freeze up. She said her other children’s little sister, “their little ray of sunshine” who had been funny, witty, outgoing and “huggy” had gone.

“The light had gone from her,” she said, before describing the girl as now being “anxious, distrustful and awkward around affection”.

She also described her own “extreme guilt” and said she would never forgive herself for “being the one who allowed her to stay” (at her cousin’s house).

“Her father would say that it is a father’s job to protect his child,” she said, adding that he would “never get over the feeling of the being the one who dropped her there where she suffered the abuse”.

She said her husband had a “constant sick feeling” and was “heartbroken”. He had trusted that the man’s house was “a safe place and that our daughter was loved there”. She said her husband felt the abuse destroyed his daughter’s innocence and childhood and their marriage was “not in a good place”.

The child said in the victim impact statement that family members of her cousin were not talking to her. “It makes it look like I did something wrong,” she said, adding that she had been very afraid, saddened, upset, unsure, confused and nervous while she was being abused.

The mother concluded her statement by saying that she was “very proud” of her daughter and she and her husband would do their best to help her to go on to lead a normal life.

Mr Justice White ordered that the accused be assessed for the Better Lives sex offenders’ programme while in prison. The accused was ordered to abide by directions of the Probation Service for two years on release and attend any rehabilitation programmes as directed. 

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About the author:

Sonya McLean and Jessica Magee

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