Sunday 26 January 2020

Woman abused by her godfather begins High Court action

A MOTHER-of-three who was raped and sexually abused as a child by her godfather has launched an action for damages in the High Court.

Marcella Breslin (31), Emerald Drive, Killybegs, Co Donegal has sued Patrick Gillespie (54), her godfather and uncle-in-law of Carrrickmagrath, Ballbofey, Co Donegal as a result of the sexual abuse when she was aged 12 to 16 years of age.

Gillespie was in 2008 jailed for ten years with three years suspended after being convicted of rape and sexual assault.

Ms Breslin has claimed that between 1993-1997, he deliberately and knowingly perpetrated acts of sexual assault and sexual abuse on her in his home and also once in her grandmother's house at Athayvooge, Killybegs and in forest areas in the county.

Gillespie, who is still in prison, was not represented in court.

It is claimed the instances of abuse began as touching in an intimate manner and graduated to full sexual intercourse and while Ms Breslin did what she could to prevent rape, Gillespie overpowered her physically and psychologically and it continued for upwards of four years.

As a result, ,it is claimed Ms Breslin suffered personal injuries, loss and damage.

Opening the case before a jury, Ms Breslin's Counsel Sasha Gayer said Gillespie was Ms Brelsin's godfather and uncle law and in a position of trust.

Ms Breslin would stay in Gillespie's house and was close to his wife, her aunt.

The assaults began when Ms Breslin was twelve years of age. Gillespie also brought her a local forest area where he would rape her.

"It had a profound and lasting effect on her. She tried to take her own life when she was 16 years of age," counsel said.

The criminal case, Counsel said, caused a rift in the extended family. Gillespie's sentence was upheld by the Court of Criminal Appeal.

In evidence Ms Breslin said on Friday nights when her friends were thinking about what to wear going out she would go home because Gillespie called between 6.30 to 7pm and would take her to a forest and rape her, before dropping her home again.

"I would meet my friend after and she would be trying to decide what to wear. I was thinking I wish that was all of my problems," she said.

She said when she was 18 she was in New York when a retired garda approached her to sign a piece of paper saying she was dropping all the charges against Gillespie.

"I was absolutely frightened to death to be followed to America," she said.

The case before Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne and a jury continues.

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