Tuesday 20 March 2018

Father who raped son from age of six is jailed for 14 years

The husband and wife were on trial at the Central Criminal Court. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
The husband and wife were on trial at the Central Criminal Court. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Conor Gallagher

A man who raped his son from the age of six and locked him in a box in their home has been jailed for 14 years.

There was no reaction from the 66-year-old as the sentence was read out at the Central Criminal Court. He continues to deny the offences and has said he will appeal the jury verdict and sentence.

Mr Justice Robert Eagar said the child had "clearly convinced the jury of the spirit of the truth of the allegations".

The child was taken out of the home by social workers in 2011, just before his eighth birthday, and placed in foster care, where he was further sexually abused by a child.

In his sentencing remarks, the judge said it was not wise to put the boy in the foster home where he was sexually abused.

He said it was "quite clear" that there was a large amount of sexual abuse occurring in the house.

Mr Justice Eagar imposed a 15-year sentence on the father and suspended the final year.

The man has already been registered as a sex offender and will also be subject to a four-year supervision order on his release.

The judge said it was the man's right to fight the trial and to appeal the verdict but took into account the effect the trial had on the child.

A jury convicted the father of nine counts of raping his son from the age of six and one count of child cruelty. He was acquitted of raping the child with a poker.

His 38-year-old partner was convicted of child cruelty but found not guilty of sex assault relating to allegations that she had sex or simulated sex with her child when he was between six and seven. She will be sentenced next week.

Both parents had pleaded not guilty to the offences, which occurred between 2009 and 2011 in their home.

In a victim-impact statement read to the court, the now 13-year-old boy wrote: "When I lived with my mam and dad I wanted to dispose myself of this world, I wanted to commit suicide."

It wasn't until he was taken into foster care that his childhood started, he wrote.

The boy is currently in specialised care in the UK.

"Words have not even been invented yet for what my dad has done to me," he wrote.

"I want to say au revoir to my memories. I would like my dad never to leave prison. I am happy when he is in prison."

A psychological report stated the child is two years behind in school and has difficulties forming relationships.

He was removed from the family home in 2011 and placed in a foster home where he was sexually abused by another child. This child was never prosecuted because he was below the age of criminal responsibility.

In March 2012, he was moved to another foster home where he was very happy. He began disclosing the sexual abuse by his father to this foster mother, who documented it and handed it over to gardaí.

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, was forced to put him in specialised residential care in the UK as no suitable place was available in Ireland.

The psychologist said he was displaying highly sexualised behaviour but this has improved over time.

Defence counsel Colman Cody SC said his client intends to appeal the conviction and does not agree with the jury's verdict.

Mr Cody said the maximum sentence of life imprisonment is reserved for only the most exceptional cases "involving particular violence or depravity". He said these characteristics are absent from this case.

Irish Independent

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