Monday 20 November 2017

Two life sentences for man guilty of raping two children

The defendant pictured at a previous court appearance at Longford District Court
The defendant pictured at a previous court appearance at Longford District Court

Dearbhail McDonald and Caroline Crawford

An unemployed man who raped two young girls and threatened to cut their parents' throats during a twenty minute ordeal has been sentenced to two life sentences.

The 30-year-old man was sentenced to by trial judge Mr Justice Paul Carney.

Judge Carney said that he would find it "too upsetting to recite the facts" adduced this morning at the Central Criminal Court.

Judge Carney said that in the normal course of events, the accused would be entitled to a substantial discount because he had signed guilty pleas prior to the trial, and because of his early plea and co-operation with gardai.

But Judge Carney said that this case was too serious for these concessions to be given effect to.

"For the past twenty years I have refrained from saying this is the worst case ever," said Judge Carney, handing down the two life terms.

Earlier today, the mother of the 9-year-old girl raped three times by the "animalistic" man, told the Central Criminal Court: "Inside, I am slowly dying".

The father of a second child, aged 6, who was anally and orally raped by the same man, addressed the Central Criminal Court in person this afternoon.

The father of the 6-year-old told trial judge Mr Justice Paul Carney that the man had engaged in acts of depravity not fit for a society where a 6-year-old exists.

"It was like a bomb going off in our ears", said the man as he fought back tears, describing to the court questions posed to him by his young daughter.

"Where do we start with this?" he asked, adding that he hoped that, in time, the ordeal would become a faint memory for the child who "sees creepy men" every day, leading her to freeze and panic.

The court heard that the child cannot be on her own at any time and has a "worry box" by her bed to dispense her daily worries.

"We live daily and nightly with this new world created by this man, it's so unfair," said the 39-year-old father.

"We have all been touched by evil," said the father, who broke down during his testimony.

"It is a living fear now that life could get worse," he said, adding that he and his wife have had to teach his now 7-year-old child the difference between secret and private.

The father wrote a poem, called "Petals Plucked, What Will Bloom" and he read this poem into the court record for his "princess".

The sentenced man raped the two young girls and threatened to cut their parents' throats during a twenty minute ordeal.

This afternoon, he appeared at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin dressed in a black suit and white shirt.

Earlier this year he had admitted a total of five charges, three of raping one little girl and two of raping a second.

When asked today if he wanted to change his guilty plea, the man - who has an extensive criminal record including prison terms for robbery and assault - nodded his head from side to side and said "no".

The children, aged 6 and 9, were raped at a house last year after straying away from another child’s birthday party in a housing estate.

Both girls were anally and orally raped by the man and received what was described as a "cocktail of medication" to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV.

Family members, including the children's parents, wept as the charges and details of the offences were read out.

"You bitch, take them [the child's clothes] off or I'll cut your parents throats one and then yours," the man told the children prior to the assaults.

When one of the girls cried, he said "shut it".

This afternoon Inspector Aidan Minnock confirmed that the man "effectively lured" the girls to his flat from a green outside where they had been playing.

The man lured them to his flat under the pretence that he had a six-year-old daughter who was shy. He invited them to play with the child, who did not exist.

Judge Carney heard that the man made full admissions to the assault during a fifth interview by gardai.

He told the authorities he had been drinking cider and vodka from 7am on the day of the rapes. He was also taking Valium.

He bought the alcohol with monies given to him by a priest.

He admitted trapping the girls in the room and raping them.

He said he had been screened for sexually transmitted diseases six months previously in Castlerea Prison.

After making full admissions to gardai, the statement of the girls was put to the accused and he confirmed their statements, including the lie about a 6-year-old girl to earn their trust and "get what he wanted".

Two victim impact statements were prepared for today's hearing.

One was read into the court record and another was read by one of the girls' fathers.

In a victim impact statement (VIS) the mother of the 9-year-old child said her daughter was traumatised and terrified by the assault.

"Our lives changed forever that day," she said in the VIS.

"I feel I am living a nightmare I can't wake up from....Inside, I am slowly dying.

"She doesn't feel safe anymore," said the mother, who added that she fears for her daughters future.

The girl's father said that he was not seeking revenge, adding that his daughter's "dignity and bravery takes my breath away"

The case was fast-tracked through the courts after the man made it known through his solicitor, Gearoid Geraghty, that he was pleading guilty to all charges and waiving his right to the book of evidence.

The man has been in custody at Castlerea Prison since he was initially remanded there last October.

He appeared at Athlone District Court earlier this year where he signed pleas of guilty before Judge Seamus Hughes in respect of each of the five charges.

Judge Hughes returned him for sentencing to the Central Criminal Court.

Prior to today's sentencing hearing, Judge Carney, listing judge of the Central Criminal Court, ordered that victim impact reports be prepared.

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