Thursday 27 October 2016

Pensioner who raped step-daughter from age 11 jailed for 12 years

Nicola Donnelly

Published 29/07/2016 | 15:41

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A Cork pensioner who raped and sexually abused his step-daughter from when she was 11 years of age, resulting in her giving birth to two of his children, has been jailed for 12 years.

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The 69-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to 18 counts of raping and sexually abusing the woman on dates between 1974 to 1979 at their Cork home.

Detective Sergeant Michael Corbett told prosecuting counsel Tim O'Leary, SC the complainant, now a 53-year-old woman, made a statement to gardaí in 2013 in relation to the historical rape and sexual abuse by her step-father.

She told gardaí that after her father passed away, the defendant moved in to their home with her mother and siblings and eventually he and her mother got married.

She said the sexual abuse started when she was 11 years of age when her stepfather would bring her out of her bedroom and onto the landing to have sexual intercourse with her three or four times a week.

She said she dreaded Sunday evenings when her mother went to bingo because her stepfather sexually abused her for the evening and on other occasions he raped her while her mother was downstairs.

She said she was “gripped with fear” that her mother would come upstairs and see them having sex on the landing. On another occasion she was raped in the garden shed by him.

She said the defendant never worked and was an alcoholic who drank all the money her mother brought into the house.

She described it as a “living hell to be in the house” and her childhood was non-existent as she had no childhood parties and he controlled her through violent beatings.

At the age of 15, she fell pregnant by him and she became very distressed and had to convince people the baby's father was a work colleague.

Following the birth of her baby, she moved out of the house but returned to protect her mother from him.

Eventually by the time she was 16 she found the strength to leave home, the court heard.

It was only in 2013, following the death of her son, that she reached a “turning point” and made a complaint to gardai, Det Corbett told prosecuting counsel.

In a victim impact statement which the woman read out emotionally in court directed to the man, she said: “I was only a little girl when you raped me. I didn't understand what was going on and I cried as it hurt. You warned me not to tell anyone.”

She said she never had birthday parties like normal little girls.

“He'd always find a way to get me on my own. He controlled me and everyone in the house. If I wasn't raped, I'd be beaten,” she said.

Breaking down in tears, the woman said when she became pregnant at the age of 15, she had to tell people the father was a work colleague.

She said he continued to rape her weekly and she became pregnant for a second time. When she gave birth to a baby girl, she said she knew she had to put her up for adoption as she did not want to risk him being around her.

She said she moved to a different part of the country with her son and never saw “that monster” again.

Addressing the defendant directly she said: “I blame you for the loss of my two beautiful children. I carried a secret of giving away my daughter for 30 years.”

She said the memories of what he did to her are still fresh in her mind. “He took everything from me,” she said.

“But, I have not allowed it to destroy me,” she added. “Now I have the power over you. I have a very happy life thanks to my family and friends and my counsellor.”

Det Corbett said when the defendant was arrested he made admissions to having sexual intercourse with the woman but in his view, “he was in a relationship with her” and he had adopted the view it was “somewhat consensual”.

Defence counsel Marjorie Farrelly SC, said the evidence was quite harrowing for everyone but the important mitigation was his plea, which was of particular value in a historic case.

“He instructs us to express his remorse to her for all the wrong he has done,” said Ms Farrelly.

Sentencing the man today, Mr Justice Tony Hunt handed down an 18-year sentence but suspended the final six years.

The man is currently serving a four year sentence which was handed down in February 2015 for indecent assault offences against the woman's siblings.

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