Thursday 23 November 2017

Man who was 'in love' with child (8) avoids prison

Hubert Noditza, left, listening to his solicitor Padraig O'Connell outside Killarney District Court yesterday.
Hubert Noditza, left, listening to his solicitor Padraig O'Connell outside Killarney District Court yesterday.

Anne Lucey and Barry Duggan

A 33-YEAR-old Frenchman who claimed he was in love with an eight-year-old child avoided jail yesterday -- when he volunteered to leave the country until she turns 18.

Hubert Noditza, originally from Normandy in France, was found guilty of two charges relating to trespassing at the child's home and assaulting her father, in Killarney District Court by Judge James O'Connor.

Noditza bombarded the girl's mother with text messages saying that the child was "the only one with whom I felt like living forever".

Another text message accused her parents of seeking to make him "go away before (name of child) and I are really married forever".

And a previous court hearing was told that Noditza had set up a tent close to the family's home despite warnings to stay away.

Noditza, speaking to the court through an interpreter, strongly denied he had sent the texts.

He suggested the family might have made the messages up and sent them through his phone which he said he had lent them.

Inspector Barry O'Rourke accused Noditza of being "sexually attracted to children".

"You are a paedophile and you have been rumbled," the inspector added.

Noditza strongly denied this and said he never had sex with any child.

In evidence yesterday, the father of the child told how he found Noditza outside the bedroom window last January. The Frenchman made "a very strong declaration" that he loved his daughter.

He had first met Noditza in March or April 2009 after he delivered pizzas to him in a B&B in Killarney and they had become friendly.

The father said he had invited Noditza to their home in May 2009 and he had stayed with the family, mostly in a caravan, near their house.

However they asked him to leave after two weeks, and he had done so in July 2009. The child's father said he had become a nuisance and "he had no apparent restraint when it came to personal barriers".

However after July, Noditza would frequently return to the house, and was found looking in windows -- especially of the bathrooms, the child's father said.

The girl's father read out transcripts of mobile phone messages sent to the family. Beginning in November 2009, the child's mother received a number of text messages from him.

One message asked the mother to tell the child that once he married her she would get whatever she wanted; and another that he would die for the child.

In cross examination, Insp O'Rourke put it to Noditza that he had said he "loved" the child.

Noditza replied he had said that, but what he had meant was that he didn't want to hurt her. When pressed on the matter of his declaration of love he said "Yes, but not in a bad way".

Judge James O'Connor convicted Noditza on the two charges, imposing a seven- month sentence on the charge of trespass at the child's home on January 1 last, and a nine-month sentence for assault causing harm to her father last month.

But the judge suspended the 16-month jail sentence after Noditza voluntarily agreed to leave the country in the next 24 hours and not to return until March 2019 when the girl would be 18. He also undertook not to try to make any contact with her family.

Speaking after the court, the child's father said he was very happy with the gardai and "the responsible way they dealt with this".

Irish Independent

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