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Central Criminal Court

Man who raped his daughters, sisters and niece is jailed for life

Richard O’Brien (61) denied all the offences but was convicted unanimously by a jury following a trial earlier this year.

A MAN WHO sexually abused and raped two of his sisters, his niece and later his own two daughters in horrific offending spanning four decades has been jailed for life.

Richard O’Brien (61) denied all the offences but was convicted unanimously by a jury following a trial earlier this year. His five victims indicated today that they have waived their right to anonymity so he can be named.

The Central Criminal Court heard that the abuse of his two sisters and his niece occurred at his family home at O’Moore Road, Ballyfermot and continued until each of the three women ran away as teenagers. The women also gave evidence of physical abuse and emotional torture at his hands.

The women described growing up in a dysfunctional home where there was neglect, physical abuse and little point in disclosing the abuse they were suffering at the hands of their brother.

They outlined how terrified they were of O’Brien who also physically assaulted them. His sisters told how he had wrung the necks of a puppy and a kitten belonging to them during their childhood.

O’Brien went to sexually abuse and rape his own two daughters until they were taken into care.

One of his daughters later told her foster mother that she had been sexually abused by her father and the gardai were alerted. Her sister, aunts and cousin then also came forward.

O’Brien, of Cremona Road, Ballyfermot, Dublin 11, was convicted by a jury of 63 counts of rape, sexual assault and indecent assault against the five victims on dates between 1975 and 2011.

Passing sentence today, Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring said the case highlighted the importance of foster families.

She noted it had taken two years of love and attention in a foster home for O’Brien’s daughter to trust an adult acting as a parent enough to reveal the abuse.

She said she was to be commended for speaking out and the foster mother commended for listening.

She noted the harrowing evidence heard during the trial and the immense damage caused to each of the victims. She said the killing of dog and cat can only be termed sadistic.

Ms Justice Ring told the women they had nothing to be ashamed of and had done nothing wrong. “The only person in this courtroom who should be ashamed is Richard O’Brien.”

She told them they should not worry what others have to say and reminded them that the 12 men and women on the jury had believed their evidence.

She told the women that despite what had happened to them as children and without parental role models they had become wonderful mothers and grandmothers and this was a terrific achievement.

“Stop giving time and headspace to Richard O’Brien,” she told them.

She told the women they had achieved so much against the odds, the time is now to let those achievements in and Richard O’Brien out. She wished them well into the future.

Turning to O’Brien, she noted he had abused a position of trust as an older brother, an uncle and a father. She noted he was facing the remaining years of life and had medical issues.

She took into account medical reports and letters from family members handed into court.

Ms Justice Ring noted O’Brien had shown no remorse and no acceptance of his offending. She said the offending against his two daughters had been “at the very apex” of the serious offence of rape.

She said by the time he began abusing his own daughters he was an adult, perhaps damaged by neglect but now building own family, and he had made a conscious decision to rape and sexually assault his own flesh and blood until social services intervened.

She said there a continued failure on his part to recognise the damage done. She said he had abused and terrorised his siblings and niece and gone on to repeat it with his own daughters.

She noted the delayed complaint by the older women but said their terror of O’Brien explained it.

Ms Justice Ring imposed a life sentence in relation to the rape offences committed by O’Brien on his two daughters. She imposed concurrent sentences totalling 11 years in relation to the other offending.

The sentences will commence from when O’Brien went into custody in March.