Tuesday 17 October 2017

'I have never felt so angry and physically sick... it seemed I would never get back my normal life' - Victim impact statement reveals abuse by Tom Humphries

  • Sentencing adjourned to later this month
  • Writer pleaded guilty to six offences relating to defilement and sexual exploitation of child
  • Victim says Humphries actions led to loss of her childhood and thanked Humphries family for alerting gardaí
  • Humphries wrote letter of apology for victim who did not wish to see it
Former Irish Times sports journalist Tom Humphries arriving at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where asked to be remanded in custody to await sentence for grooming and engaging in sexual acts with a child. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Former Irish Times sports journalist Tom Humphries arriving at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where asked to be remanded in custody to await sentence for grooming and engaging in sexual acts with a child. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The young woman who was sexually exploited as a child by journalist Tom Humphries has told how she was left feeling suicidal following her ordeal.

She did not address Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, but a harrowing and extremely powerful victim impact statement from her was read into the court record by prosecution barrister Shane Costelloe SC.

Tom Humphries (54), with an address in Sutton, Dublin, pleaded guilty to six sex offences at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last March.

Earlier today, Judge Karen O'Connor adjourned sentencing to later this month as she wishes to consider documentation handed into court and evidence given in mitigation.

At his own request Tom Humphries was taken into custody after the hearing ended.

In a powerful statement, the victim outlined in detail her feelings about being defiled and sexually exploited between the ages of 14 and 16.

In the statement, the young woman spoke of experiencing guilt and shame.

She said she suffered psychologically as a result of the abuse and had trouble eating and sleeping, resulting in weight loss.

Under the heading Shame, she wrote: “Feeling ashamed of the fact that I let somebody do this to me and that I allowed him to manipulate and have control over me.

“I went through stages of being physically sick, leading to a loss of school time and education time, thus affecting my learning capabilities.

“I lost my trust in men. The loss of my childhood came with the ordeal of having to deal with the police, counsellors, solicitors and social workers.

“I had to deal with sexual encounters at such a young age with a man three times my age, which made me physically, emotionally and mentally ill.

“I had to make countless statements for the police. This was extremely draining mentally and emotionally.

“I had to go through counselling for a year and a half, which caused me to relive the whole ordeal all over again.

“Being classed as a victim has led to self doubt, a lack of confidence and hatred towards myself.”

Under the heading Life Changes, she wrote: “I was unable to continue playing camogie due to mental and physical health issues caused by this experience.

“This led to a loss of friends, a loss of passion and a loss of a lifestyle.

“I lost out on college exams, trips, holidays and experiences with family and friends.

“I had to take time off from school, college and work to accommodate all the court cases I had to attend. These court cases were dragged out over several years.

“This whole ordeal has left me with permanent flashbacks and severe panic attacks.

“It has led me to mentally block out all of the abuse, both sexual and mental. This has resulted in me blocking out my childhood memories that I had from the ages 14 to 18.

“I suffer with depression. That not only hits me in waves but sticks with me always.

“It is a constant battle I have to fight in order to get on with my day to day life. I have been suicidal because of all that has happened.

“This is something I never want to feel and something I never want to cross my mind and an action I do not believe in.

“This also goes against my beliefs and the morals I was brought up with.

“I have never felt as low and as small about myself until this happened to me. For years it has ruined my life.

“I have never felt so angry and physically sick with myself and it seemed like I was never going to get back to my normal life.”

Her statement concluded with a message for the Humphries’ family, who reported his activities to the gardaí.

She wrote: “I would like to sincerely thank the family of Tom Humphries. Without them reporting this I do not know where I would be today.

“I will be forever grateful to them for saving me from this situation. I hope and pray that you can all get past this and somehow life a normal healthy life.”

Hugh Hartnett SC, for Humphries, said his client was "truly remorseful".

He said Humphries had attempted suicide twice and was at risk of a further attempt.

Mr Harnett said his client had refused treatment for depression as he believed this would make him feel happier.

He said his client did not want to feel happier and wanted to feel pain for what he did.

Humphries attended court for today’s hearing.

He wore a blue shirt, patterned tie, navy suit jacket, black trousers and black Nike runners.

Last March, he admitted to six charges when he was arraigned.

Two of the charges related to engaging in a sexual act with a girl under the age of 17 on or about December 5, 2010 and February 19, 2011.

The sexual acts occurred at an apartment in Dublin.

The other four charges admitted by him were of sexually exploiting the same child by inviting her to engage or participate in a sexually explicit, indecent or obscene act on or about January 1, 2010 February 15, 2011 and March 4 and 18 the same year.

At that hearing Mr Humphries only spoke in court to say “guilty” after each of the six charges was put to him.

A number of other charges on the indictment are to be taken into account when he is being sentenced.

Humphries was arrested in relation to child sex allegations in September 2012 but the matters did not come to court until earlier this year.

Humphries' former employer, the Irish Times, issued a statement following today's proceedings.

The company said that Tom Humphries has not written for The Irish Times since early 2011.

In a statement, it said that he joined The Irish Times as a sports reporter on March 1st, 1992.

"In March 2011, the company was advised of serious allegations against the journalist and the commencement of a criminal investigation by the Garda. He has not written for The Irish Times since then.

"He was suspended from employment by The Irish Times on March 31st, 2014 when he was formally charged with criminal offences.

"His employment was terminated with immediate effect on March 8th, 2017 after he had pleaded guilty to charges at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

"The company said the disclosure that Humphries was the subject of serious allegations and of a criminal investigation was a source of shock and distress to his colleagues."

It added: “This matter has been treated with the utmost seriousness throughout. The Irish Times, in its response, has been guided by the provisions of employment legislation and the requirement to allow the criminal justice system to proceed without interference. The company fully co-operated with the Garda at all times during its investigations.”

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this letter please contact Samaritans helpline 116 123 or Aware helpline 1800 80 48 48 or Pieta House on 1800 247 247

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