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Sunday 1 October 2023 Dublin: 16°C
# Sentencing
'I will never forgive my mam': Rape victim says family has been torn apart
“He just acted like a normal loving father, when he was far from that,” the 24-year-old told the court.

A YOUNG WOMAN whose father raped her repeatedly as a teenager says her family has been torn apart in the wake of the abuse and she will never forgive her mother for taking his side.

Ellen O’Driscoll (24) said she continues to serve a life sentence since coming forward with the allegations against her father, Patrick O’Driscoll. Her entire family, including eight siblings, have turned against her and she is now isolated from the Traveller community.

“It’s torn my family apart,” O’Driscoll said in a victim impact statement handed up to the Central Criminal Court today. “My mam, sisters, brothers, uncles and aunts all took his side. So I have no family now.

I don’t blame my brothers and sisters as I know what it’s like to have someone messing inside your head. But I will never forgive my mam.

The court heard O’Driscoll, who was not in court for the sentence hearing, wished to waive her right to anonymity. Her father, who is in custody, will be sentenced by Justice Paul Butler on 17 January next year.

O’Driscoll (41) with an address in Codrum, Macroom, Co Cork was found guilty by a jury of 61 counts of raping his daughter between 2008 and 2009, when she was aged between 16 and 17 years old. He had denied the charges.

The week-long trial last month heard O’Driscoll was the eldest child of a large Traveller family that moved around frequently, but was living in Cork city in 2008 and 2009.

She told the court her father raped her on a weekly basis from the time she turned 16, when her mother was out shopping and she was minding her younger siblings.

O’Driscoll broke down several times as she told the court that on the first occasion, her father ordered her into her parents’ bedroom, tied her hands behind her back, spread her legs, put a pillow over her face and raped her.

“He said, ‘I’ve missed this. I won’t go without it anymore’,” she said. She said afterwards, her father acted like nothing had happened.

“He just acted like a normal loving father, when he was far from that,” she said.

The trial heard O’Driscoll wasn’t allowed go to school. “I had to stay at home, clean, cook, look after the kids, behave like a housewife,” she said.

She said he threatened her not to tell anyone about the alleged abuse, telling her he would kill her and kill himself. “He used to threaten that I would never see my brothers and sisters if I told anybody and that’s what happened,” she said. “To this day, I don’t see them.”

When O’Driscoll was in the stand during the trial, both her father and mother loudly refuted her allegations, moving the judge to warn against future outbursts. At one point, the woman’s mother called out, “that’s a load of shit” from the public gallery.

In her victim impact statement, read out by Garda Michael Dolan, O’Driscoll said she missed her brothers and sisters very much.

We were very close siblings but it was taken away by a very sick man. I feel I’m serving a life sentence, even though I didn’t do anything wrong. I will be living half a life for the rest of my life.

Defence barrister, Thomas Creed SC, said there was little he could say in mitigation for his client, given his not guilty pleas. But he said O’Driscoll’s family supported him and they were “shocked and saddened by his conviction”.

“They still love him very much and miss him very much,” he said.

Comments have been closed as sentencing is due.

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