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28/10/2021

Man to be sentenced later after he discussed raping his young granddaughters in online chat with stranger

Man to be sentenced later after he discussed raping his young granddaughters in online chat with stranger

A grandfather engaged in an online sexual fantasy with a stranger about the rape of his two granddaughters, then aged seven and two years old, a court has heard.

The 65-year-old Dublin man, who can't be named to protect the identity of the children involved, engaged in a Skype chat conversation with a Canadian going by the name of 'Bill' about raping the children, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard on Tuesday.

The conversation was found on the man's laptop by gardaí who searched his house after they became aware of child abuse material in the home. Two copies of a single child abuse image were also recovered from the man's laptop.

The man pleaded guilty to one count of knowingly possessing child pornography and one count of knowingly distributing child pornography on dates in October 2017.

Garda Simon Halpin told John Berry BL, prosecuting, that on the day in question, the man engaged in a Skype conversation with a person named 'Bill' in Canada.

The pair discussed their “inclinations of a paedophiliac nature” and outlined sexual experiences with children they said they had had, the court heard

'Bill' asked the man if he had any grandchildren and the man replied that he did and they were aged seven and two years old. “After that a description is made of the rape of these two girls in a very concerning fashion,” Mr Berry said.

A copy of the conversation was handed in to Judge Melanie Greally, but not read out in court.

The court heard the man then sent pictures of his two granddaughters to 'Bill'. These images were “innocent pictures a person would have in a frame on their walls”, Mr Berry said.

The child abuse image that was found on the man's laptop was a Category 2 image and depicted sexual activity between an adult man and a boy, the court heard.

The man has no previous convictions. When interviewed by gardai, he made limited admissions, the court heard.

Michael O'Higgins SC, defending, said the man worked hard to provide for his family for many years and that “his world as he knew it was upended in one moment” when gardaí arrived to search his house.

He said he helped care for his wife, who has health issues, and that despite the charges against him, they are “rock solid as a couple”.

Mr O'Higgins said that the conversation with 'Bill' was “all a fantasy” and that the man had not carried out any of the sexual activities that he described.

He said the man was “reclusive” and had limited insight into his offending, but he was willing to engage in treatment. “He is not someone who is ever going to come before the court again,” Mr O'Higgins said.

The man is “deeply ashamed” of what he did and there are “serious ongoing consequences” for him as a result of his actions, he added.

Judge Greally adjourned the case to November 11, next, for finalisation.

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