Tuesday 20 February 2018

Man described as 'wolf in sheep's clothing' jailed for abuse of daughter and granddaughters

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Stock picture

Fiona Ferguson

A Kerry grandfather described as a “wolf in sheep's clothing” has been jailed for 13 years for the sexual abuse of his daughter and two of his granddaughters.

At the Central Criminal Court the father of the youngest victim, who was the first child to report the abuse, urged parents to be vigilant if they had the “slightest inkling that a child was a little off”.

He thanked the child's teacher who had just finished the “Stay Safe” program with the class when his daughter revealed her own abuse. Her grandfather, who raped and sexually assaulted the child while babysitting her, had told her it was “their little secret”.

The accused subsequently admitted abusing all three victims. He has no previous convictions and is now wholly estranged from his family.

The 67-year-old who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victims, pleaded guilty to rape and sexual assault of the younger granddaughter, who first reported his abuse, on dates between 2011 and 2014.

He also pleaded guilty to sexual assault of an older granddaughter on dates between 2011 and 2012 and sexual assault of his own daughter during her childhood on dates between 1995 and 1999.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy noted the man had repeated his sexual wrongdoing in two generations of the family. He imposed consecutive sentences totalling 13 years.

The man's daughter, who was abused between the ages of ten and 14, said she had believed she was the only victim. Her abuse came to an end when she shouted at her father to leave her alone.

She described the guilt she felt years later when she discovered he had abused her nieces as well. “How could you have done this to us?” she asked her father during her victim impact statement.

The younger granddaughter was aged between six and nine at the time of the abuse, while her cousin was aged between nine and ten years old. The man abused the girls at various locations including the family home and while babysitting.

Defence counsel, Anthony Sammon SC, said the accused man was “terribly upset” at what he had done and at destroying what was once a close family. He said he was struggling to come to terms with the make-up of his own nature that brought this about.

He handed in a psychologist's report and a bundle of testimonials from “people who spoke well of him.” He asked the court to take into account the man's remorse, admissions and co-operation with gardaí.

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