Tuesday 20 March 2018

'His shame is justified' - Ten year sentence for man who sexually abused his daughter

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Fiona Ferguson

A Wexford father who sexually abused his daughter over a three year period has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The 45-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect his victim’s identity, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to 16 counts of oral rape and 16 counts of sexual assault against his daughter on dates between 2010 and 2013. He has no previous convictions.

His daughter was aged between 11 and 14 years old at the time she was abused by him.

Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy described the offences as “appalling”.

She said “his shame is justified,” adding that he should “be ashamed of his odious conduct towards an innocent child”.

She said she had taken into account “the forceful nature” of the man's behaviour and the fact that the child was afraid of him and was vulnerable.

Ms Justice Kennedy accepted that the man had pleaded guilty at an early stage and had shown insight into his own behaviour.

She suspended the final two years of the term on strict conditions and ordered that he undergo two years post release supervision. She declared him a sex offender and she said he was to have no further contact with his daughter.

A local garda told John O' Kelly SC that the offences came to light in 2014 when the girl alleged that her father had been sexually assaulting her in the family home.

The abuse took place when they were alone together in the house or when her father came in at night from “socialising.” She said it took place on a very frequent basis when he was socialising and her father told her not to tell anyone and that no one needed to know.

The girl said at first she was frightened but as she got older she realised it was wrong and began to resist and fight back. She did not tell her mother because she was worried about the effect it would have on the family and that it may cause her parents to separate.

He said it was possible he did not remember it.

The man was asked to leave the family home when the offences came to light and had not returned since.

In a victim impact statement handed into court the girl outlined how the offences affected her family and her trust in people. She said she only felt safe when home with her mother.

She said it was hard for her siblings to understand and she hated seeing the family fighting and arguing. She said it was hard to wait two years for her father to be punished.

“The fear of him doing it to someone else had me going mad. I don't want anyone else to through what I did,” the girl said.

The garda agreed with Caroline Biggs SC, defending, that the man was genuinely remorseful.

She agreed that the man had difficulty with recalling the events but did not dispute what his daughter had said. The man told gardai his offences were “disgusting” and “disgraceful.”

The garda agreed that the abuse happened at times when he was sober during the day but the majority occurred when he was drunk. She agreed that the man had acknowledged his drinking destroyed the family home.

Ms Biggs said her client had a very good work history but had been out of work around the time of the offences. She said he had alcohol difficulties stemming from his early years.

She said the man had limited cognitive ability but had been assessed as at low risk of re-offending.

Ms Biggs said the man wished to convey his deepest apologies and had not wanted his daughter to have to give evidence in court.

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