News Courts

Tuesday 25 July 2017

Father of three jailed for having sex with girl (13)

Paul Gilmore and his partner leaving Donegal Circuit Court during the trial
Paul Gilmore and his partner leaving Donegal Circuit Court during the trial

Anita Guidera

A woman gave a harrowing account yesterday of how her childhood had been stolen by men who had sex with her when she was just 13.

She spoke as part-time DJ Paul Gilmore (30) was jailed for nine months for having sex with her. One one occasion he sexually assaulted her while his partner was giving birth to their second child, the court heard.

Gilmore (30) of Lawne Park, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, pleaded guilty to three sample charges of sexually assaulting the girl when he was 23 years old. She told a court yesterday that she had attempted suicide on numerous occasions and overdosed as she struggled to get over the abuse.

At Donegal Circuit Criminal Court yesterday, Judge Gerard Griffin sentenced the father of three to a total of two years' imprisonment with 15 months suspended.

"He knew she was 13 and not under the care of her parents and running wild at the time. He took advantage of her for his own sexual gratification. He knew, or should have known, she came from a dysfunctional family which was not likely to call a halt to the abuse," he said.

The judge also praised the victim, now aged 20, who was present in court with her stepfather, for her "great courage and fortitude" in proceeding with the case.

"The victim has wondered 'Was this all my fault?' The answer is a very firm 'No'," he said.

He praised the investigating garda, Liam Feeney for his swift action in bringing the abuse to an end. "I can only shudder at what may have happened to the victim if he didn't act so fast," he said.

Gilmore's partner Michelle fought back tears when the sentencing was announced.

The court was told that the 13-year-old girl had sent a text message to Gilmore after meeting him one night in July 2003.

He drove her to secluded spot near a beach and had sex with her in the front passenger seat. He dropped her off close to the town and asked her not to tell anyone what happened.

On another occasion, he had sex with the girl in his car while playing a recording of himself singing a Westlife song. The tape was later recovered from his house and became part of the case against him.

He once even took the girl to his home while his partner, Michelle was in hospital giving birth to the couple's second child.

He gave her a glass of vodka and took her to an upstairs bedroom where they had sex.

The woman, whose identity is protected by the court, claimed to have had sex with 22 men when she was still 13 years old.



Diary

She kept a diary in which she recorded the names of those she had sexual encounters with and a 'period' chart -- to identify potential fathers in the event of becoming pregnant.

Gda Feeney said gardai had investigated the possibility of the existence of a sex ring operating in the small town but had discounted it.

Last year army private Kenneth McDonald (34) of Lawne Park, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal was jailed for two years and three months after being found guilty by a jury of sexually assaulting the child.

Earlier this week a jury found Leo Forde (26) of Laghey, Co Donegal guilty of similar charges. Two other men who have pleaded guilty are also awaiting sentencing.

A sixth man has been charged with a similar offence.

Irish Independent

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