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Thursday 30 November 2023 Dublin: 3°C

Woman raped by stepfather for years says the State failed her

Mary Manning said the abuse began when she was ten-years-old and led to the birth of her five children.

A WOMAN WHO was beaten and raped by her stepfather for years, leading to the birth of her five children, has said the State failed her.

Mary Manning’s mother married her stepfather Sean McDarby when she was ten years old. Appearing on the Late Late Show last night, she told Ryan Tubridy that McDarby began grooming her not long after he moved into the family home.

She suffered physical and sexual abuse for years and first became pregnant when she was 16. By the time she was 22 her stepfather had moved her into what she described as a “house of terror” in Dublin and she had four children under the age of six.

Mary left Ireland for the US in 1987 but returned seven months later, after her children had been taken into care. The abuse by McDarby resumed and she gave birth to a fifth child. 

Last night Manning said she had gone to the authorities in 1988 and in 1994 to report the abuse but her stepfather was never prosecuted. 

“My country let me down, my country failed me,” she said. 

Appearing on the show with two of her daughters, Iseult and Ashley, she explained how she managed to break free from him after she met her husband Karl.

The Late Late Show / YouTube

“He did help me to escape, because that man was still around, that man was still threatening,” she said, adding that she believes her biological father, who died when she was nine-years-old, had sent him to her. “To take care of me.”

She said she only managed to cope with the years of abuse with the support of her husband and her “beautiful daughters”.

Speaking about her father, Iseult told Tubridy “he had control”. 

“He came into the house, we were very silent and very afraid, she would lock the door and she would try and get away from him,” she said. “He was just so abusive. We seen her being beaten by him. I think he had no boundaries to the level of sickness that he had in him.”

She said if the State had intervened, McDarby would have gone to prison.

“We want to make sure as much is done as possible. The State had let her down and we would like an independent investigation into why they allowed him to stay on the streets, why they allowed him to have the opportunity to come to us and attack us if he felt necessary.”

When asked how she felt when her abuser died, Mary said it was “such a mixture”.

“It was like, he destroyed so many lives and has impacted so many lives. The really difficult piece is, while I absolutely love my children, he took away my ability to be a mother, he took away so much,” she said.

“There would be times when I see a resemblance, it’s difficult.”

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