Monday 20 May 2019

Auctioneer jailed for rape attacks on friend's daughter

Central Criminal Court
Central Criminal Court

Isabel Hayes

A man "of some standing" in his community who repeatedly raped his friend's daughter when she was a child has been jailed for eight years.

Noel Kelleher (64) was found guilty by a jury of six counts of rape, three counts of sexual assault, three counts of oral rape and one count of attempted oral rape of his victim at various locations in Co Clare between June 1991 and August 1992.

Kelleher, of Gort na hAbhna, Roslevan, Ennis, Co Clare, was found not guilty of a further 16 counts of rape, indecent assault and sexual assault by the jury following a Central Criminal Court trial last November.

His victim, who was aged between 12 and 14 at the time of the attacks, wished to waive her right to anonymity so the perpetrator could be identified, the court heard.

Sentencing Kelleher, Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy said his abuse of his victim had a "deep and long-lasting impact" on her, which continues to this day.

Ms Justice Kennedy handed down a nine-year sentence but suspended the final 12 months on a number of conditions.

Detective Garda Claire O'Shaughnessy previously told his sentence hearing that Kelleher, an auctioneer, was a "man of some standing" in the community. He was in his late 30s and married when he carried out the abuse.

The court heard the abuse started when the girl was aged 12. Kelleher raped and sexually assaulted her, the court heard.

The abuse ended shortly before her 14th birthday.

The court heard she tried to kill herself on one occasion when she saw the man standing outside her school.

The woman spent years just "functioning" and tried to block the abuse out of her mind, Det Gda O'Shaughnessy said.

However, after the birth of her youngest child, she suffered severe postnatal depression and memories of the abuse came "tumbling out", the court heard.

The woman has since spent time in psychiatric care and has attempted to end her life on several occasions, the court heard.

In a victim impact statement which she read out in court, the woman said it was "unbearable" to once again outline the abuse she suffered.

"The shame, the blame, the pain, the humiliation, the anger and isolation has done something to me that is impossible to describe," she said, adding the abuse affected her education, her relationships and her mental health. "I just want it to go away. This should not be my shame to carry. It should be his. But I think he has no shame."

Irish Independent

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