'Sadistic monster' gets 15 years for torturing parents in 'hell house'
Published 19/11/2010 | 05:00
A "sadistic monster" was jailed for 15 years for torturing his parents after turning their home into a "concentration camp" where he held them captive for five months last year.
John Trimble Jnr (39) forced his mother to get down on her hands and knees in the "house of hell" and wash the floor while she was naked.
Trimble told Judge Anthony Kennedy that he was very sorry for what he had done to his parents, John (71) and Elizabeth Trimble (70): "I love them to bits, I know I might never see them again," he said.
However, in a victim impact statement, the couple thanked the HSE staff for "saving their lives". They added: "John is still a threat to us."
The horrific abuse was exposed yesterday at Tullamore Circuit Court in Co Offaly where Trimble pleaded guilty to harassing, endangering, assaulting and falsely imprisoning his elderly parents for a time between March and July 2009.
Gardai expressed revulsion last night that the couple's eldest son turned the home of his parents into a "concentration camp".
A piercing alarm was "ringing constantly" inside the house in Bolart, near Clara.
Trimble Jnr used to wake his mother by shouting at her from 6am. He would then force her to take a freezing cold shower and make her "drip dry" in the bathroom while the back door was open. Elizabeth was forbidden from using a towel -- and not allowed to dress.
She would then endure "humiliating" walks -- while naked -- to a shed at the back of the house to do laundry. The woman, who suffered from diabetes, was afraid to run away from her son because she believed he would harm her sick husband, who had prostate cancer.
Judge Kennedy said in his 40 years prosecuting, defending and judging crimes, he thought he had "seen it all". As he jailed Trimble Jnr for 15 years he said he was most "disturbed" by the fact that the accused was "not mad".
He had been assessed by a psychiatrist who found he was fit to plead guilty in the case.
The judge said there was "no hint" that the accused would not offend again as he had a previous conviction for harassment and stalking. He refused Trimble Jnr's leave to appeal.
The court earlier heard that on July 17, 2009, two Health Service Executive nurses called to the parents' home near Clara accompanied by gardai. Trimble Jnr reacted with "great hostility" and it took the officers 40 minutes to gain entry to the house.
Sgt Jer Glavin said he found the parents lying naked and "distressed" on a bed. He said an alarm was "ringing constantly" and he could not switch it off.
The parents were taken to Tullamore Hospital by the HSE where they were treated for nine days. They had lost three stone in weight and were bulimic following the ordeal.
During captivity, Elizabeth was forced to take a "scalding " shower one day and her neck was badly burned by the hot water. She received a black eye at the hands of her son.
The couple's other children, Damien and Jacqueline, broke down in tears in the courtroom as they heard how their parents were often hungry and weak and only fed biscuits and 7Up.
On Fridays, Elizabeth was "allowed outside for some air and exercise" while her son would collect her pension. Trimble Jnr once remarked to his father that he hoped he would "roll up in a ball and die of cancer".
He forbid other family members from contacting his parents and wouldn't allow them to attend John Trimble Snr's sister, Betty Dempsey's funeral in Mullingar -- nor did he allow his parents to attend their grandson's communion.
Trimble Jnr bought his mother new shoes but would only allow her wear them in certain areas of the house as he was "obsessed" with cleaning. When she wore the shoes in a "forbidden" area, he threw them in the bin in a rage.
The couple were not allowed to watch television or wear underwear or socks.
The accused man admitted most of the offences against him. "I am sick in the head," he said.
Insp Kieran Keyes said the jail term reflected the "serious nature" of his crimes. "People should not sit idly by and need to contact us if they have any concerns at all. I have never in my 27 years in the Garda Siochana witnessed anything like this. It was a house of hell," he added.