Tuesday 17 January 2017

Bus driver jailed for abusing two sisters and tricking them into playing 'sweetie games'

Stephen Maguire

Published 29/10/2016 | 02:30

'The abuse happened on dozens of occasions for two years between 1983 and 1985 when the girls were aged five and seven' (stock photo)
'The abuse happened on dozens of occasions for two years between 1983 and 1985 when the girls were aged five and seven' (stock photo)

A bus driver has been sentenced to four and half years in prison after pleading guilty to indecently assaulting two sisters after he tricked them into playing 'sweet games' while he abused them.

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Cathy and Caroline Brady waived their anonymity in a bid to name abuser Leo McFarland.

McFarland (57) of Millfield, Buncrana had originally pleaded not guilty to a total of 53 charges against the sisters in the kitchen of his home and in his mini-bus in Co Donegal.

The abuse happened on dozens of occasions for two years between 1983 and 1985 when the girls were aged five and seven.

McFarland, a father-of-five daughters, dramatically changed his plea and admitted to the charges against the women after the first sister, Cathy, gave her evidence.

His case was put back until yesterday for a probation and psychological report to be carried out.

McFarland was a neighbour of the victims at the time of the abuse on Convent Road, Carndonagh and was friendly with the two victims and their family.

The women revealed how their attacker would assault them in his kitchen while the other girls waited outside in the hall.

He would play games with them and ask the girls to put their hands into his pockets to retrieve sweets and keys.

"He would ask us to look for sweets in his pocket. There would be a hole (in his trouser pocket). He would say 'move about more and more and squeeze and look for it'. It was his penis. There was never sweets," Cathy previously told the court.

Judge John O'Hagan sentenced McFarland to four and a half years for each of the 11 sample charges and ordered the sentences to run concurrently.

He also placed McFarland on the sex offenders register.

The sisters said they were pleased that their attacker had been jailed for four and a half years. They said they felt a huge sense of relief but were still annoyed that McFarland had not apologised or shown any sign of remorse.

Cathy said: "Thank God it is now finally over and we can move on with the rest of our lives."

Irish Independent

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