Tuesday 25 July 2017

Man who raped his stepdaughter 'up to three times a week' found guilty of all 92 counts against him

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Isabel Hayes

A Cork man accused of repeatedly raping his stepdaughter over a seven-year period has been found guilty of all 92 counts against him.

The 40-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, went on trial in the Central Criminal Court accused of sexually abusing the girl between May 2008 and November 2015, when she was aged between 9 and 16 years old.

He had pleaded not guilty to 26 counts of sexual assault, two counts of attempted rape and 64 counts of raping the girl.

Almost all of the offences took place in the family home in Cork.

The jury of seven men and five women took just under four hours to return the guilty verdicts.

The man was taken into custody and will be sentenced on May 15.

The three-week trial heard that the girl's mother met the man when she was around six years old, and the abuse started when she was aged around eight or nine.

The victim, who turned 18 during the trial, gave extensive evidence over a number of days via video link.

The court heard she felt the man was “like a dad” to her. She described how the abuse started with her stepfather tickling her and then putting his hands down her pants.

It progressed to the man regularly forcing his stepdaughter to masturbate him, often when they were in his bedroom watching television. The girl told the court that this usually happened when she needed money for the cinema or to go swimming.

Her mother was out with her younger siblings or at bingo when the abuse occurred, the court heard.

During a family holiday, the court heard the man forced the girl onto a hotel bed and tried to rape her. About a month later, she said he raped her when they were in his bedroom watching television.

She said he raped her up to three times a week from then on, mostly in the bedroom he shared with her mother.

At one point the victim confided in her mother about the abuse after they watched a scene from Eastenders together in which a stepfather was abusing his stepdaughter. But she backtracked shortly afterwards and said she was only joking.

The abuse ended in November 2015 when the girl packed a bag and went to her aunt's house. She then confided in her mother and they went to gardaí the next day.

There was a less than one in 1000 million chance of the DNA profile being unrelated to the accused, prosecuting counsel, Marjorie Farrelly SC, told the jury.

Defence barrister, Sean Guerin SC, told the jury the girl's credibility was a “great source of concern”.

Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy thanked the jury for their service.

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