Monday 11 November 2019

Taxi driver who sexually abused and raped his daughters jailed

Patrick Byrnes (78) of Castletroy, Limerick arrives at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin where he was jailed for six years. Pic : Collins Courts
Patrick Byrnes (78) of Castletroy, Limerick arrives at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin where he was jailed for six years. Pic : Collins Courts

Sarah Jane Murphy and Declan Brennan

A retired taxi driver who sexually abused two of his daughters and raped one of them over a 10-year period has been jailed for six years.

Patrick Byrnes (78), of Castletroy, Limerick, appeared for sentence at the Central Criminal Court yesterday after being convicted by a jury last July.

The father-of-nine was found guilty of 58 charges of indecent assault and two counts of rape on dates between 1975 and 1985.

The court was told that Byrnes began abusing his daughters when they were aged around seven, the year of their First Communion.

They lived in abject fear of him and have been left broken by the decade of abuse.

Three of the indecent assault charges involved Byrnes "willing" the family dog to engage in sexual acts with one of the daughters.

During his campaign of abuse, he threatened the two children that if they told anyone about it, he and their mother would split up.

Garda Tony Carmody said that it was only after the defendant's wife died in 2013 that the two women reported the matter to gardaí. Byrnes denied all charges and continues to deny them.

Yesterday Mr Justice Paul McDermott noted that the case has split the family.

The court heard that the abuse happened on a twice-weekly basis for a period of 10 years.

The judge said the daughters were repeatedly abused by their father and lived a life of "abject fear". Byrnes abused them with impunity.

He noted that both women said they were left broken by the childhood abuse.

The judge noted that Byrnes suffers from a number of health conditions including heart disease and osteoarthritis but he added that there was nothing to suggest these cannot be addressed in prison.

He said that given Byrnes's lack of remorse and his refusal to admit responsibility, the only mitigating factor he could consider was his age.

Byrnes might die in prison and he has given that serious consideration, he added.

The judge set a headline sentence of nine years for the rape and six for the sexual assault but reduced these by one year to take account of his age.

He suspended the final two years on condition that Byrnes is not in the company of any woman under 18 unless accompanied by another adult.

All the sentences are to run concurrently.

Gda Carmody told Gerry Clarke SC, prosecuting, both complainants waived their right to anonymity so their father, who they say they will never forgive, could be named.

Byrnes had worked as a lorry driver and a delivery man as well as a taxi driver and had never previously come to the force's attention.

Irish Independent

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