Saturday 3 December 2016

Man gets 14 years for horrific abuse of two daughters

Aoife Nic Ardghail

Published 22/12/2010 | 05:00

A FATHER who subjected his two daughters to "a catalogue of horrors" was yesterday jailed for 14 years at the Central Criminal Court.

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The 65-year-old raped and sexually abused the girls over a 16-year period in the 1980s and 1990s.

One daughter told gardai she first recalled her father abusing her when she was between five and 10 years old.

But she said it must have happened before because even though it was her earliest memory, she hadn't felt the situation was unusual at the time.

The woman's younger sister told gardai that when she tried to tell her mother about the abuse sometime before her teens, her father physically assaulted her as a warning.

In victim impact statements, the two women described to the court how they felt "dirty, damaged and scared" as a result of the years of abuse and said that their abuser did not deserve to be called a father.

The Sligo man, who can't be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty on his trial date to 16 sample counts of indecent assault, unlawful sexual intercourse, rape and buggery of his two daughters between 1980 and 1996 at a location in Sligo.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said the victims had undergone "a catalogue of horrors" over the years and noted the Director of Public Prosecutions believed the abuse to be at the upper end of the scale.

He also observed that the man had only entered a guilty plea when he saw his daughters in court ready to give evidence against him.

However, the judge said the courts "must be guided by the light of reason" and took into account the man's age and health difficulties.

He sentenced him to eight years for his assaults against one victim and six years for the attacks on the other girl. The judge ordered the sentences to run consecutively, meaning the man will serve a total of 14 years. He had earlier declared the man a sex offender.

Detective Garda Colleen O'Neill revealed that the man gave his older daughter a drink of what she now suspects was alcohol from a silver flask before he first raped her when she was between 10 and 11 years old.

Det Gda O'Neill said the abuse happened so frequently the woman can only pinpoint certain incidents.

The court heard the younger daughter was abused from when she was about five years old. When the girls had enough money saved they both moved out.

Violent

Det Gda O'Neill told the court the man had "ruled his home with an iron fist", that he was aggressive and violent towards all members of the family and wouldn't allow one daughter or her mother go to bed until he had come home from the pub drunk.

This daughter, reading from her victim impact statement, described growing up in a "house of hell" and being denied an education because of the abuse.

She said she still had flashbacks and had had a number of operations to correct physical problems she suffered from the years of abuse.

Det Gda O'Neill read the other daughter's victim impact statement in which she also described losing out on an education because she couldn't study.

The woman said she suffered panic attacks, could not hold down a job and had tried to take her own life during her teens.

She said her childhood was taken from her "in the worst possible way" by a man who "should not and does not deserve to be called a father".

She added that she would continue to need counselling for a long time.

Defending barrister Thomas O'Malley said his client had pleaded guilty to the serious charges which spared both women the trauma of a trial.

He said a doctor's report indicated his client had psychological and alcohol-related problems.

He told the court his client said he had no recollection of the assaults but accepts responsibility for them and is "extremely sorry and saddened".

Irish Independent

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