Man (39) abused fiancée's teenage daughters
A man who sexually abused his fiancée's three young daughters in a "gross betrayal of trust" shortly after moving into their family home has been jailed for 10 years.
The court heard how the girls' mother stood by her partner and destroyed evidence after one daughter confided that she had been raped by the man.
The 39-year-old man was found guilty by a jury of one count of rape and 12 counts of sexual assault of the three girls in their Meath home in 2009 and 2010 when they were in their early to mid-teens.
He does not accept the verdict of the jury at the Central Criminal Court.
Mr Justice Paul Coffey paid tribute to the victims. The abuse "wreaked havoc on their family life" and caused significant psychological harm, he said.
There was nothing that could be said in mitigation for the man, who cannot be named to protect his victims, save that he had no previous convictions, the judge said.
During the nine-day trial in February, the mother said she was "very uncomfortable" giving evidence against the man. She claimed she was being intimidated by her daughters and was in fear for her life.
The trial heard that in the case of one of the victims, the abuse progressed from molestation to an incident of rape where the man attacked the 15-year-old as she lay sick in bed. The next day the girl told her mother what had happened.
The mother confronted her partner and it was decided they would make a report to gardaí. However, the woman said that while they were standing outside the garda station, the man told her it was her daughter who touched him first, so she decided not to tell gardaí.
When she returned home she washed bedclothes and clothes from the scene of the rape. The next day she brought her daughter to the GP to get the morning-after pill. She claimed to the GP that the girl had consensual sex with a 17-year-old boy.
Gardaí eventually became involved when the girls' school became concerned and notified the HSE. The children were taken into care and the man moved out of the family home.
The prosecution told Mr Justice Coffey that the man would buy the girls presents which they considered a form of "bribery". The abuse started a short time later.
During one instance one of the girls threatened to tell her mother. The accused told her he would take a knife to her throat if she did.