Sunday 23 September 2018

Man abused girls being 'neglected' by mother, moved family to Ireland to avoid detection

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Isabel Hayes

A UK man convicted of sexually abusing two girls targeted them when they were being neglected by their mother and moved the family to Ireland to avoid detection, a Dublin court has heard.

The 37-year-old man was found guilty of three counts of rape and eight counts of sexually assaulting the two girls at addresses in Dublin and Louth between December 3, 2010 and March 10, 2011 when they were aged 10 and 12.

Following a 12-week Central Criminal Court trial, the jury took just three hours to return the unanimous verdicts last month. He cannot be named to protect the victims' identity.

The man fled to Chile in 2011 and he was later extradited from the US in 2014.

The older victim, now 19, said she was treated like "a princess by day and abused by night". She is "angry" at her mother, who she believes was deliberately "pimping" out the girls.

At the man's sentence hearing yesterday, the court heard the girls were living with their mother and younger siblings in the UK. Their mother was "disinterested and unengaged" and neglected her children.

The man, a family friend, came into their lives in early 2010 and shortly afterwards, the family moved into his house in a nearby upmarket area. He showered the children with gifts and holidays.

UK social services had already been involved with the mother and children. They became concerned that the man had daily control of the children and appeared to be involved in their "physical grooming".

In November 2011, when UK social services ramped up its intervention, the family left with the man and moved to Louth.

The mother was often absent from the home and the man regularly sexually assaulted both girls in bed at night and this progressed to rape.

Detective Garda Michael Scanlon said in December 2010, the man and the older girl travelled to Dublin and got caught up in snow. They stayed in a hotel and the man sexually assaulted and raped the girl in the room.

Later that night, when the girl was asleep, gardaí called to the room to check on her. This was due to a notification in the system from UK social services.

They found nothing untoward and left. Afterwards, the man woke the girl up and sexually assaulted her again.

Teachers also became concerned when they saw the man kissing the youngest girl on the lips. In March 2011, the man told a social worker that he wasn't in a relationship with the children's mother. Shortly afterwards, the alarm was raised when the man took the children out of the jurisdiction while their mother was in hospital.

The children were returned to Ireland and placed in foster care. Their mother is facing prosecution in relation to her care of the children.

In her victim impact statement, the younger girl said she thought the man was her "saviour" when he improved their lives. "Then I learned this was at a cost," she said.

The matter will return to court on June 20.

Irish Independent

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