Central Criminal Court, Dublin
A Kilkenny man who raped and sexually abused his then partner's daughter has been jailed for seven years.
The man (77) abused the child over a ten-year period while he was in a relationship with her mother, beginning when the child was aged around eight or nine. He cannot be named to protect the victim's anonymity,
The Central Criminal Court heard that the man abused her whenever her mother was out of the family home, including on one occasion when her mother was in the hospital.
The man was convicted following a trial in June 2021 of 72 counts, including counts of rape, oral rape, anal rape and sexual assault at locations in the Midlands on dates between May 17, 1991 and May 16, 2001. The man had pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The court heard that the trial judge directed the jury to return not guilty verdicts on three counts of anal rape. The man has no previous convictions.
Passing sentence today, Justice Paul McDermott said the aggravating factors in the case included the offences being committed against “a defenceless child” and the offences being committed in the family home, turning it into “a place of fear and trauma”.
Justice McDermott said the acts perpetrated on the victim left her with profound feelings of isolation from a young age. He said she clearly felt traumatised by the trial process.
The judge said the “continuous and persistent abuse of a child” takes the case into a high degree of seriousness. He set a headline sentence of 15 years for each rape offence.
He said the mitigating factors include that due to the man's age, every year spent in custody represents a substantial portion of his remaining years. He noted, however, that the man does not suffer from any life-threatening illnesses.
The judge said further mitigating factors were the man's lack of previous convictions, his having otherwise lived “a blameless life” and his support for his family.
Justice McDermott sentenced the man to 10 years imprisonment, but suspended the final three years of the sentence on strict conditions, including that he not contact the victim in any way and have no unsupervised access to children.
He said the reduction from the headline sentence and the suspension of a portion of the sentence were made because of the mitigating factors which he is obliged by law to consider. He said that normally a defendant in the man's position would be obliged to serve “a much greater sentence”.
In her victim impact statement, which she read before the court, the woman said that this abuse “has caused me torture and stress in my life”.
The woman said that from the time it started, she felt terrified and in shock. She said her childhood was taken away from her.
She said she could not work full-time as she never felt comfortable leaving her children with anyone other than her husband in case this might happen to them. She said that as a result of what happened, she no longer had a relationship with her mother.
The woman said she no longer feels the shame that came with the offences as she knows now it was not her fault and it should never have happened.
She said that now that “this horrible abuse” has been acknowledged, she can finally breathe and live her life as she should always have been able to live it.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.