A Cork father-of-nine who brutally raped his teenage daughter on a weekly basis when she was aged between 16 and 17 has been jailed for nine years.
Patrick O'Driscoll (42) with an address in Codrum, Macroom, Co Cork, was found guilty by a jury of 61 counts of raping his eldest daughter, Ellen O'Driscoll, between 2008 and 2009. He had denied the charges.
In Central Criminal Court on Tuesday, Mr Justice Paul Butler said O'Driscoll's abuse of his daughter “tore the family apart”.
“Her mother, sisters, grandparents, uncles and aunts all took her father's side,” he said. “I hope it is of some small consolation to Ms O'Driscoll that in the teeth of her father's denial...a jury of 12 citizens have found by unanimous verdict that he was guilty of 61 counts of rape.”
Sentencing O'Driscoll to 10 years in prison with the final year suspended, Mr Justice Butler took into account the fact that O'Driscoll has led an otherwise “blameless life” and “appears to be rearing the rest of his family properly”.
He suspended the final year on a number of conditions, including that O'Driscoll have no contact with his daughter. Ms O'Driscoll (24), who was not in court for the sentence, previously waived her right to anonymity.
In a victim impact statement previously handed in to court, she said she continues to serve a life sentence since coming forward with the allegations against her father. Her entire family, including her eight siblings, have turned against her and she is now isolated from her community.
“It has torn my family apart,” Ms O'Driscoll said. “My mam, sisters, brothers, uncles and aunts all took his side. So I have no family now.
“I don't blame my brothers and sisters as I know what it's like to have someone messing inside your head. But I will never forgive my mam.”
The week-long trial last November heard Ms O'Driscoll was the eldest child of a large Traveller family that moved around frequently, but was living in Cork city in 2008 and 2009.
She told the court her father raped her on a weekly basis from the time she turned 16, when her mother was out shopping and she was minding her younger siblings.
Ms O'Driscoll broke down several times as she told the court that on the first occasion, her father ordered her into her parents' bedroom and raped her.
“He said, 'I've missed this. I won't go without it anymore',” she said. Afterwards, her father acted like nothing had happened.
“He just acted like a normal loving father, when he was far from that,” she said.
The trial heard Ms O'Driscoll wasn't allowed go to school. “I had to stay at home, clean, cook, look after the kids, behave like a housewife,” she said.
She said he threatened her not to tell anyone about the alleged abuse, telling her he would kill her and kill himself. “He used to threaten that I would never see my brothers and sisters if I told anybody and that's what happened,” she said. “To this day, I don't see them.”
When Ms O'Driscoll was in the stand during the trial, both her father and mother loudly refuted her allegations, moving the judge to warn against future outbursts. At one point, the woman's mother called out, “that's a load of shit” from the public gallery.
In her victim impact statement, read out by Garda Michael Dolan, Ms O'Driscoll said she missed her brothers and sisters very much.
“We were very close siblings but it was taken away by a very sick man,” she said. “I feel I'm serving a life sentence, even though I didn't do anything wrong. I will be living half a life for the rest of my life.”
Defence barrister, Thomas Creed SC said O'Driscoll's family supported him and they were “shocked and saddened by his conviction”.
“They still love him very much and miss him very much,” he said.
After he was sentenced, O'Driscoll waved to family members before being led away.