Friday 21 October 2016

Dublin man who sexually abused four sisters in their home gets 12 year sentence

Laura Colgan and Fiona Ferguson

Published 17/10/2016 | 17:08

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A Dublin man who sexually abused four sisters in their home has been given a 12 year sentence.

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The 49-year-old accused man pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to six counts of sexual assault against the four girls on dates between 2002 and 2004.

The man, who has a previous conviction for rape, was the then partner of the girls' mother and was living with them in the family home when the sexual assaults occurred.

The eldest victim was aged between 12 and 13 years old when she was abused and each of her three younger sisters were assaulted on one occasion each, with the youngest being seven years old.

Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy noted the man's guilty pleas and expression of remorse. She also took into account the severe effect the offences had on the victims.

She imposed consecutive sentences totalling 12 years and ordered four year probation supervision.

The investigating garda said the accused came to live in the family home in 2001 and sexually assaulted the eldest daughter on an almost-daily basis for a year and a half.

He said the accused cared for the four sisters when they came home from school while their mother worked and regularly sent the younger sisters out to play while he abused the eldest sister in her bedroom.

The garda said the victim was aged between 12 and 13 at the time and she told him that the only day she could remember that she was not assaulted was the day of her confirmation.

The investigating garda said the accused threatened to kill the eldest sister if she told her mother about the sexual assaults.

He said the eldest sister never told her mother what happened and experienced flashbacks. She revealed to a teacher what had happened to her and a complaint was made to gardai in 2005.

He said the three younger sisters came forward and reported single instances of sexual assault to gardaí after the allegations from the oldest sister came to light.

The garda said the accused was arrested in April 2005 but never charged. He said a European Arrest Warrant was issued and the accused was remanded in custody in the UK in April 2013 on a separate matter.

He said the accused man's previous convictions included one for rape in 1995.

Tara Burns, BL, prosecuting, read out victim impact reports from each of the four girls, two of which were in court with their mother.

The eldest daughter said she left home at the age of 18 as she “couldn’t stomach to be in the same house he abused me in” and she no longer celebrated birthdays or Christmases with her family.

The woman, who now has children herself, said she felt she was “holding her children back” as she did not leave them with anyone, including friends and family members.

She said the accused “took control of her life” and was now left with no confidence and no trust in people.

The second-eldest sister also said she no longer had relationships with her mother or sisters and the family home was “no longer a happy place”.

She also said she turned to alcohol and cocaine to “block it all out” and ended up in an abusive relationship which left her hospitalised on one occasion. She also said she now took anti-depressants and her “life is turned upside down”.

The second-youngest sister said she “cannot look at her mother the way she used to” and blamed her mother for the assaults. She said she found it hard to trust men and always questioned whether they were like the accused.

The youngest sister said she no longer had relationships with her sisters or mother and fell behind in college due to thinking about the court case.

She said she felt confused as she liked the accused as a person and blamed herself for the assaults.

Michael Bowman, BL defending, said the accused was serving a sentence for rape when he met the victims’ mother through her brother. He moved into the family home straight from prison.

He said the accused did not know his father and suffered verbal and physical abuse at the hands of his stepfather when he was a child.

Mr Bowman said the accused left school at an early age and had only worked on a casual basis on farms and building sites since. He also said the accused suffered from depression and had a history of self-harming.

Mr Bowman said the accused man “appreciates the considerable harm done to the lives of these young people” and hoped “all parties can move on with their lives when these matters are behind them”.

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