Friday 17 November 2017

Man carried out 'depraved sex attacks' on girls

Eavan Murray

A man carried out increasingly depraved rapes and sexual assaults against two little girls aged only eight and nine, a court heard.

Kevin Owen McDonnell, (39), of Adhann Or, Bangor Erris, Ballina, Co Mayo, pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of sexual assault and 13 counts of oral rape against one girl; and 14 counts of sexual assault, 13 counts of oral rape and one count of anal rape against the second child on dates between June 1999 and September 2000.

He is to be sentenced in December at the Central Criminal Court.

He was convicted by a jury on all counts earlier this month. The married father of two faces up to 15 years' imprisonment.

His victims, Kelly Geraghty (20) and Charlene Barrett (21), both also from Bangor Erris, waived their right to anonymity so their abuser could be named in the media.

Both girls wept and were embraced by their parents yesterday as harrowing details of the assaults were read out by prosecution counsel, Ms Deirdre Murphy SC.

Sergeant James Gill told Mr Justice Gareth Sheehan that all parties in the case were from the same small town in Co Mayo and the victims were best friends since "their first day of national school".

The court heard Ms Barrett's mother ran a hairdresser's in Bangor Erris which was located next door to the West End pub where McDonnell was a barman.


Sgt Gill told the court that in September 1999, the girls developed a habit of watching cartoons in the lounge area of the pub after school.

It was there, in a secluded area of the lounge that McDonnell first approached the girls and asked them had they ever seen a man's penis and did they know what sex was.

The court heard that McDonnell then masturbated himself before forcing the girls to carry out sex acts on him.

There were emotional scenes as counsel detailed to Mr Justice Sheehan the "increasing bold" and "depraved" nature and frequency of McDonnell's attacks on the girls which occurred "two to three times a week for a year".

The court also heard that throughout the 12-month period McDonnell threatened the girls to keep the abuse a secret and would regularly give them sweets and soft drinks.

Ms Geraghty said the memory of the abuse will never leave her and to this day she suffers from panic attacks and cries herself to sleep most nights.

She said: "I am full of anger and resentment for what he did to me. Every time I think about what happened I feel sick. I cried every night for two years before I told my parents because I knew how much it would break their hearts.

"I will never forget the look on their faces when I told them."

Ms Barrett said that in the years after the abuse she would regularly see McDonnell around the locality and he would "stare and smirk" at her. She said: "No matter the outcome, the damage he has done to me will never leave me. I have to live with it for the rest of my life."

Justice Sheehan adjourned sentencing until next month.

Irish Independent

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