Friday 9 December 2016

Step-dad jailed for abuse of girls told not to enter into new relationship

George Jackson

Published 21/06/2016 | 02:30

‘This is the most grave offending within a family setting’ – Judge Babington. Stock Picture
‘This is the most grave offending within a family setting’ – Judge Babington. Stock Picture

A judge has banned a man convicted of sexually abusing his two step-daughters from entering into a relationship in the future with any woman who has children without the approval of his risk manager.

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The man (51) was jailed for nine years, six-and-a-half of which must be in custody and the remainder on probation, at the Crown Court in Derry yesterday.

He was also disqualified from working with children and prohibited from entering into a relationship, whether intimate or otherwise, with any woman who has a child, without the approval of his designated risk manager who will verify disclosure of the man's offending.

The court heard that, when the abuse came to light, the man was thrown out of the family home in Derry. Some six months later, he reported to police that he had abused the children - although no complaint had been made against him at that stage.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victims, pleaded guilty to 34 offences against one victim and to committing one offence against the second. The court heard he started the abuse in 1990, when the victims were aged nine and 12, and it continued over a nine-year period.

Judge Philip Babington said such was the nature of "the most grave offending within a family setting, there have been serious repercussions for the victims, which they will have to live with for the rest of their lives".

He said an unusual aspect of the case was that once the defendant was thrown out of the family home, he lived on his own for six months before going to the police in Derry in 2006 and admitting he sexually abused his two step-daughters. Although no complaint had been made against him, he made full admissions to the police.

"During his interview with the police, he made it clear that he was taking responsibility for everything that he had done and said he was very sorry and realised that what he had done was very, very wrong," Judge Babington said.

"As far as the defendant is concerned he, very unusually, had admitted his offending some six or seven years prior to the complainants making allegations to the police. When police came looking for him, he was living in Sligo and consented to extradition. It is said that if he knew the police were looking for him, he would have presented himself much sooner than he did, although the delay was only a couple of months.

"He pleaded guilty on arraignment and it is quite clear that this is a case in which neither of the complainants would ever have had to give evidence and that must be some solace, however small, for them."

However, sentencing him to nine years, the judge added: "Despite the way the defendant has met this case, it does not get away from the fact that this is the most grave offending within a family setting."

Irish Independent

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