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Man jailed for nine years for sex abuse of sister when they were young

The 49-year-old Dublin man pleaded guilty to 24 sample counts of sexually abusing his sister.

LAST UPDATE | 14 Jan 2022

A MAN WHO “preyed” on his little sister, sexually abusing and raping her on a regular basis when they were young, has been jailed for nine years.

The 49-year-old Dublin man, who can’t be named to protect the anonymity of his sister, pleaded guilty to 24 sample counts of sexually abusing his sister on dates between 1984 and 1991. These included counts of indecent assault, sexual assault, rape, oral rape and anal rape.

Almost all of the abuse occurred in the family home when their parents were not present. The girl was aged around seven or eight when the abuse started and continued until she was 14. Her brother was four years older than her.

In a victim impact statement which she read out to the court at a sentence hearing last December, the woman, now 45, said her brother “preyed” on her and was a “monster” in her own home for her entire childhood.

“He lived in my house and he could get me whenever he wanted and no-one was coming to save me,” she said. The woman said her brother threatened her that if she told anyone, their family would be broken up and destroyed.

The abuse started as inappropriate touching and quickly progressed to rape and anal rape up to five or six times a week. As she grew older and tried to resist him, he started using physical violence – slapping, punching her, forcibly holding her down and calling her a slut.

The abuse ended after the victim, then aged 14, had a pregnancy scare. The next time her brother tried to rape her, she said she “went wild” and attacked him. He never touched her again and from then on, pretended nothing had happened.

The abuse came to light after the woman received counselling and went to gardaí in 2016. The man eventually pleaded guilty on the first day of his trial date last July.

In her statement, the woman said that when she eventually told her parents what had happened to her as a child, they believed her but did not offer any support. Her father was mostly worried about people finding out about the abuse, she said.

“Everything (my brother) said would happen has come true,” the woman said. “My family has abandoned me.”

“He stole everything from me. He broke my confidence and self-esteem. My dignity, my autonomy and self-respect were all compromised and it has cost me profoundly in many ways.”

“…It completely changed the trajectory of my life.”

Sentencing the man today, Mr Justice Paul McDermott said that despite the man’s youth when the abuse started, “from a very early stage he knew what he was doing was wrong and had to be hidden from his parents”.

He noted the man resorted to threats, violence and coercion when his sister tried to stop him from abusing her and that he must have been aware of the “pain, hurt and resistance demonstrated by his sister”.

The abuse was “grossly humiliating and degrading for her”, the judge said. The man showed a “total indifference and lack of respect for her person, her dignity, her mental and physical well-being”.

The judge noted that the woman suffered depression, anxiety and PTSD following the birth of her own children and she was unsupported by her family when she told them what had happened to her. Her husband has been extremely supportive throughout.

She was “physically sick” at the thought of having to give evidence at trial and although her brother eventually entered a guilty plea, he only did so on his third trial date, the judge noted.

If the man had been an adult at the time of the offending, the judge said he would have imposed a sentence of between 15 years and life imprisonment. However, he said he had to sentence the man in accordance with his age at the time of the offending, which was between 13 and 19 years old.

He handed down a sentence of nine years and declined to suspend any portion of it, noting that while the man had expressed remorse, he had not made any efforts to rehabilitate himself.

Michael Bowman SC, defending, said his client has been employed for all his adult life in various jobs including painter / decorator and bus driver. He is in a long term relationship and is a father. His partner was in court to support him.

In a letter to the court the man wrote to his sister: “I do want you to know how sorry I am.” He has no previous convictions and is on medication for stress and anxiety, the court heard.

He is unlikely to reoffend, a Probation Service report found.