Monday 16 September 2019

Man used gun threat to abuse his daughter (9)

Stock photo
Stock photo

Fiona Ferguson

A man who brought a shotgun to his nine-year-old daughter's bedroom when he sexually abused her has been given an 11-and-a-half year sentence.

He told the child he would shoot her mother if she told anyone what had happened.

His daughter, now a mother herself, said she could not imagine how anyone could hurt their child. She said she liked to believe her father did what he did because he drank too much and did not know what he was doing.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, she described the effects of the abuse on her and said she had lost herself for years.

The woman described how she felt sorry for her father, who she said had lost everything because of his decisions.

"He is an old man now and probably lonely and I am just starting the rest of my life," she wrote.

The man (65), who cannot be identified to protect his daughter's identity, had denied a single count of rape and six counts of sexual assault occurring on dates between August 1991 and August 1993.

He was convicted by a Central Criminal Court jury of the offences last July. The court heard he does not accept the verdict of the jury and intends to appeal his conviction.

Mr Justice Michael Moriarty described the offences as "extremely grave" and "utterly reprehensible". He said the woman had been exceptionally gracious towards her father despite what she had been put through.

He took into account the circumstances of the case, including the man's work history, letters handed in to court and the fact that prison would be difficult due to the man's age.

Mr Justice Moriarty imposed concurrent sentences totalling 11-and-a-half years. He suspended the final 15 months and backdated the sentence to July when the man first went into custody.

A local garda told the prosecution that the abuse began in 1991 in the child's bedroom and that her mother was away in the evenings working. The victim was nine.

The first time she was sexually assaulted her father brought a shotgun and told her not to tell anyone or he would shoot her mother. She was raped by her father on a subsequent occasion before being sexually assaulted another four or five times. The court heard the abuse then stopped as suddenly as it started.

She told another family member about the abuse in 2006, but nothing came of it at that stage.

The offences came to light in December 2012 following a family gathering.

Her father was confronted but denied the offences.

Irish Independent

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