Thursday 29 September 2016

Musician found guilty of raping and sexually assaulting his stepdaughter is jailed for 12 years

Alison O'Riordan

Published 12/07/2016 | 14:33

Central Criminal Court
Central Criminal Court

A musician who was found guilty earlier this month of raping and sexually assaulting his stepdaughter has been jailed for 12 years.

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The 66-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the victim's identity, had pleaded not guilty in the Central Criminal Court to one count of rape, one count of oral rape and 27 counts of sexual assault of his stepdaughter between 1994 and 2000. The jury convicted him on all counts following a trial. He had no previous convictions.

The victim was aged between 10 and 16 years of age at the time.

John O'Kelly SC, prosecuting, said that the victim first went to gardaí to complain about her stepfather in May 2012. Her mother married the accused in 1990 after they met in England.

In the early 1990s the couple moved back to Ireland and the victim moved into a house with them. The stepfather began abusing the young girl in 1994 .

The court heard that the abuse happened on a frequent basis in the family home and in the family car with the accused touching the girl and getting her to touch him. It occurred in her bedroom, the sitting room, the porch and the kitchen of the house.

When the accused was laid up in bed with back problems, the girl would be called to bring him up a cup of tea and he would make her perform oral sex on him.

The victim was raped in her bed by her stepfather in June 2000 when her mother was away on holiday. She was given a bottle of Jack Daniels the following day and he told her not to tell her mother. Thereafter, the abuse ceased.

The court heard that the accused was a musician who played in a reasonably successful band. He was also a house husband who looked after the children as his wife worked outside the home.

In a victim impact statement read to the court the woman said she suffered from anxiety and panic attacks as a result of the abuse and rape. She had flashbacks which "have no real trigger" and they could happen in any or all situations.

"I get breathless and when the flashbacks come on I have to get away from people and be alone," she said in her statement. For the last few years the woman had been on medication for depression and had experienced suicidal thoughts.

She felt guilt and shame because of what her stepfather did to her. "When he was abusing me or raping me I tried to imagine it was not happening and I was somewhere else,” her statement continued.

The court heard she was made feel responsible for what happened to her and she was also deprived of a normal relationship with her mother and her siblings.

"He forced a wedge between me and my brothers and my mother.”

She was also led to believe by the accused that her birth was as a result of her mother being raped prior to meeting her stepfather. The court heard her stepfather told her that this was why her mother would become easily irritated by her at times.

The victim had also lost trust and faith in the goodness of people.

Colman Cody SC, defending, said his client was from England and described himself as a painter and decorator.

“He is a man who has lived an active and outdoor life. He has been involved in music and travel and the deprivation of liberty at his stage of life is a most significant punishment,” said Mr Cody.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt ordered the man be registered as a sex offender for life. He imposed 12 years on the rape count, eight years for oral rape and two and a half years for the sexual assault charges, the sentences to run concurrently.

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