Parents from hell: Children tortured and raped by father and beaten by mother
THEY are the ultimate parents from hell. Today the 50-year-old father was sentenced to life for brutal rapes and horrific violence toward four of his daughters -- he is already serving a 14-year sentence for raping another daughter and fathering two children by her
The mother (47) was jailed last July for acts of appalling cruelty to eight of her children. She was jailed for 24 years, with 16 suspended.
For legal reasons the traveller couple could not be linked until today. Neither can be named to protect their children.
On the opening day of his trial at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Castlebar, Co Mayo, last week, he pleaded not guilty to a total of 271 charges of rape, assault, ill-treatment and neglect of his four daughters between 1991 and 2009.
But the following day, he pleaded guilty to 14 sample charges in respect of all four.
Yesterday, the court heard shocking evidence of how he had abused the children until his arrest just two years ago.
Prosecuting counsel told Mr Justice Paul Carney that, in statements to gardai, the daughters had told of their father raping them from the age of five to seven.
One girl told of being terrified as she was buggered as a little girl. He had even threatened that he would kill her.
When she was nine he tied her to a tree and buggered her. He then turned her around and re-tied her, put a sock in her mouth and raped her. He used a hammer and hatchet to beat her and also employed a vice grips which he attached to her nose, ear and lips.
At age 17 she was sitting at a table in the family caravan when her father suddenly drove a knife through her arm and drew it downward. When the blood could not be stemmed, he got a needle and stitched it.
A doctor, who carried out a recent medical report on the injury, said he cringed to think what the girl had endured.
The second daughter said she often saw him abuse her sisters. "He'd switch from one child to another -- he didn't care."
A third daughter said she had been raped by her father from age nine until 20. She recalled her mother going to the shop and her father ripped off her clothes and raped her in front of the rest of the family.
On another occasion, he tied her to a tree and raped her. Her brother eventually freed her. "He raped me sometimes three to four times a day."
The fourth and youngest daughter said she was first raped by her father when just seven or eight. She was hit with poles and sticks and recalled one bad beating when she simply got out of bed late.
Last July, the girls' mother was jailed for eight years at Galway Circuit Court for physical assaults on eight of her children.
Described as "an evil bitch" by one daughter, she admitted eight offences of assault and neglect between 2002 and 2009.
The court heard that she used a variety of implements to beat the children -- sticks, a hammer, frying pan, glass bottles and horse straps.
The children constantly received black eyes from their mother punching them. She looked on while her husband drove a knife through his daughter's arm. The same daughter was tied to a horse and both were whipped. The horse ran away with the child and eventually fell over on to her legs.
Other times she sent the children out to beg and bring back money which she used for alcohol and cigarettes.
Judge Raymond Groarke said that the psychological scars and pain endured by the victims "cannot be described in adjectives -- other than a monstrosity".