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The judge said the court was “satisfied” it had to sentence the man as if he was still “a child in the eyes of the court”, and not an adult in his late 30s.

Man who raped sister while both were children is jailed for three-and-a-half years

The judge said the victim had maintained “a silence for the sake of everyone else”, baby-sitting for her brother’s children.

A MAN WHO repeatedly raped his younger sister in their family “house of horrors”, when they were both children, has been jailed for three and half years.

The defendant was 15 when he started raping the victim who was aged nine years.

The offences occurred over an an 18-month period between February 2001 and July 2002.

The man, in his late 30s, was found guilty by a jury of six counts of rape, last February.

Today he received six concurrent three and half year jail terms.

The Central Criminal Court, sitting in Limerick, heard that the victim, now in her early 30s, wished to waive her right to anonymity, so that the defendant could be legally named, and also to “encourage other victims to come forward” and report their abusers.

Presiding judge Mr Justice Michael MacGrath said he needed more time to consider the victim’s wishes on anonymity, and he would make a ruling on the issue next Monday, April 24.

A number of testimonials supporting the defendant were provided to the court, including from two of his siblings, work colleagues and employers, as well as his former partner and mother to his children.

The testimonials described the defendant as “an excellent father”, “reliable”, “honest” and “hardworking”.

Judge MacGrath said the court was “satisfied” it had to sentence the man as if he was still “a child in the eyes of the court”, and not an adult, who is now nearing forty years of age.

The defendant and the victim were both living in a “dysfunctional” and “volatile” household where they regularly witnessed “domestic violence”, the judge said.

The man’s trial heard evidence of allegations that he had suffered a traumatic childhood, including evidence which indicated that he had been sexually abused by a relative.

The defendant began raping the victim when their mother left their family home. The sexual assaults continued for a period of 18 months.

The victim raised the alarm shortly afterwards, however the matter was initially investigated by a health board, which the court heard had referred the case to an organisation dealing with victims of child sexual abuse.

The defendant participated in a therapy programme and made certain admissions at the time regarding his younger sister, however it appeared the matter did not go any further, the judge noted.

The man was arrested by gardai in 2019 but he claimed the victim was telling lies. He continues to deny that he raped the victim and does not accept the verdict in the case.

A jury at the Central Criminal Court, held in Cork last February, found the man guilty in relation to six counts of rape. He was acquitted of a further 20 similar counts against the victim.

Judge MacGrath said that although the man had a number of previous convictions – including for assault causing harm, breach of a safety barring order, and engaging in threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour -  he had no previous conviction for sexual offences. 

The court therefore regarded him as having “led a life free of serious crime” up to and after raping his sister.

Judge MacGrath said the victim described in a victim impact statement how she was reared in a “house of horrors”.

The woman said the family home had been “anything but a loving environment”.

“She grew up in constant fear. Her mother left the home and she needed the defendant to protect her from horrible things going on in their home.”

“She was scared, she was timid, and when her mother left she needed her big brother, but he took everything from her, in the violent and disgusting things he did to her,” said the judge.

“He took her childhood and innocence; she described how it was wedged into her brain like a never-ending nightmare.”

The defendant first raped the victim on Christmas night, 2001.

Judge MacGrath said: “Christmas night should have been a magic night for a child, but it was a night that changed (the victim’s) life forever”.

He said the defendant told the victim that she was “worthless” and “no one would believe her, and she believed she had been to blame”.

Judge MacGrath said the victim had maintained “a silence for the sake of everyone else” and had baby-sat for her brother’s children.

The woman said she wanted to “break my silence…so I can finally be free to live my life”.

“I no longer want to carry this with me, I no longer want to be shackled by the abuse and hurt, and I hope other victims will know there is light at the end of the tunnel — they deserve to be free and be heard.”