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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 21 February, 2019
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Man sentenced to 12 years for abusing daughter for three years while she was a young teenager

He has been registered as a sex offender.

Image: Laura Hutton via RollingNews.ie

A WOMAN WHO was abused by her father for three years while she was a young teenager has told a court that she feels like her father killed her inside.

The 50-year-old man has been sentenced to 12 years with the final six months suspended. He had denied all the offences but was convicted by a Central Criminal Court jury last November. He has been registered as a sex offender.

He was found guilty of 22 offences including sexual abuse, oral rape, child sexual exploitation and attempted rape on dates between October 2009 and July 2011 in the family’s Dublin home. The girl was aged between 13 and 15 years old at the time.

The court heard that the man physically abused the girl’s mother for a number of years.

When the girl ultimately disclosed the abuse to her mother they were not in a position to leave the family home for two weeks until the woman’s wages came through. After a number of months abroad, they had to return to Ireland when they ran out of money.

The victim and her mother relied on the charity of friends before they had to return to the family home as they had nowhere else to go. The man never abused his daughter again.

Garda investigation

The teenager confided in a school counsellor in 2013 and the HSE became involved, leading to the garda investigation.

The man was arrested and interviewed in July 2014 but denied all the allegations. He claimed the girl had fabricated the story because of his physical abuse of her mother. He doesn’t accept the jury’s verdict and has not expressed any remorse.

He has previous convictions for handling stolen property and fraud and has been on remand in custody since 2017.

The man’s legal team said the man has stated in a letter to the court that he will never apologise for the sexual assaults as if he did it would mean admitting all the allegations laid against him.

Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha SC, defending, read the letter in which the man stated that he was sorry for the time his daughter “spent with me in tears” and for “not being a good father”.

He apologised for hurting her mother physically and mentally but added: “I will never apologise for the sexual assault.” 

Victim impact statement 

The now 22-year-old woman read her victim impact statement. She said she feels like her father killed her inside.

“I see his face and smile every time I look in the mirror. I look at myself and my body like I’m ashamed,” she said

“I see my father’s face and feel his breath when I get intimate with a man,” she continued.

The woman said she was not scared of her father anymore. She said she felt “exhausted during the trial, reliving memories I had tried to bury away. I had waited for the moment for so long it felt unreal”.

She turned to face her father in court and told him he made her feel worthless.

You made me feel I was worthless and you made me feel like it was my fault, you killed me inside and I will never forgive you for that.

“You didn’t feel guilty and you didn’t feel any remorse to me or the woman you abused for 20 years. I am no longer the powerless girl I once was, I got the justice I finally deserved.”

The woman concluded her victim impact statement by thanking the gardaí on behalf of herself and her mother.

‘Lived in complete fright and terror’

Ms Justice Tara Burns described the victim as a “very impressive young woman” and said her victim impact statement was “impressive” and “insightful” and outlined how “the abuse has affected her in a profound and continuing manner”.

She noted that when the teenager ultimately disclosed the abuse to her mother they couldn’t afford to run away and had to return to live with him for two weeks. She said they had to return to live with him months later, having been abroad, as “they had nowhere else to go”.

Justice Burns said the teenager “lived in complete fright and terror” and that the man had “manipulated and controlled his family”.

She said the man had abused his daughter “for his own sexual gratification in the atmosphere of fear and power he exercised in the house”.

“He had complete domination,” Justice Burns said before she added that it was “a frightening fact” that the situation was so helpless that her mother and herself could do nothing until the money came through.

“He breached every duty a father has to his daughter. He required her to be naked in a family bed, which was a most shocking and serious breach of his trust. Her mother lived a very sad and difficult life with this man,” the judge noted.

Justice Burns suspended the final six months of the 12-year term having taken into account the man’s good work history. She ordered that he engage with the probation service for six months upon his release and comply with all their directions.

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Sonya McClean

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