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Saturday 20 September 2014

€4.7m for cousins who were raped by 'evil' choirmaster

Dearbhail McDonald and Tim Healy

Published 22/11/2012 | 05:00

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THE Director of Public Prosecutions tried three times to prosecute the choirmaster whose bank and pension accounts have been frozen following a record €4.7m damages award for raping and abusing two cousins when they were schoolgirls.

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One of Joseph Carrick's victims, Jacqueline O'Toole, who was raped and then left pregnant at 15, was awarded €4m – the highest award ever for an abuse victim.

The award dwarfs the previous record, reached only last week, when a mother of three who was raped and sexually abused as a child by her godfather was awarded €2.8m damages by a High Court jury.

Ms O'Toole and Geraldine Nolan claim that they were repeatedly raped and sexually abused by Carrick, whom they met after joining a local church choir in the early 1970s.

The Irish Independent has learned that the DPP brought three separate prosecutions against Mr Carrick in the last year in relation to alleged sexual offences against three unnamed complainants.

The first jury was discharged before it reached a verdict and in both the second and third trials the juries could not agree on a verdict.After the third attempt to prosecute Mr Carrick, the DPP entered a decision not to prosecute, known as a 'nolle prosequi'.

The High Court yesterday awarded €4m to Mrs O'Toole (55), from Pearse Street in Dublin.

She said that she became pregnant at 15 as a result of being raped by Mr Carrick and gave up her infant daughter for adoption after holding her baby only once.

She has not seen her daughter since.

A separate jury awarded €700,000 to Mrs O'Toole's cousin and childhood friend Geraldine Nolan (nee Forbes), from Townsend Street in Dublin.

Last night, the High Court granted a temporary injunction freezing the assets of Mr Carrick, who was described in court as "a monster and an evil paedophile" who preyed on children.

Mr Carrick (76), with an address at Carysfort Wood in Blackrock, Dublin, did not defend the civil actions and did not attend court.

He will, however, have an opportunity to challenge the freezing order – directing that he not reduce his assets below €5m – on Friday when the interim injunction returns before High Court judge Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne. She presided over the two jury trials.

Pregnant

As well as his home, Mr Carrick, originally from Creighton Street in Dublin, has a number of properties, including apartments in Dublin and Wexford.

The former director of the Dublin Port Transit Ltd is believed to have received €1m when he sold his share of a shipping business. He is also believed to have pension plans.

The women spoke of their relief at experiencing "a form of justice" and their hope that "that evil man" is now out of their lives.

Ms Nolan told reporters that she and her cousin now just wanted "to get recovery and closure and move on with our lives" but added: "You live with it all the time, it never leaves you."

Irish Independent

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