Tuesday 16 January 2018

Mayor 'so prominent' abuse victim feared no one would listen

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

THE teen victim of sex attacks perpetrated by a former lord mayor of Cork wept as she admitted he was so prominent in society she feared she would never be believed.

The victim, who is now in her 30s, was speaking as veteran Labour Party member John Murray (83) faced 12 months in jail for a series of sex attacks which occurred while he was still a member of Cork City Council.

Murray was convicted by a Circuit Criminal Court jury of five sex attacks on the teen between 1996 and 1998.

The victim said the assaults took place after he told her she was "a very beautiful girl" and said he "would love to f*** her".

The woman said the abuse had "tainted her" and transformed her from a happy, outgoing teenager to a withdrawn, isolated and angry person.

"I felt intimidated by him. He was a former lord mayor and a very prominent person in Cork society. I felt scared and worried that I would not be believed," she said.

John Murray: former mayor
John Murray: former mayor

"The only thing I wanted was for justice to be done and for people to know that I was telling the truth."

The woman said the abuse had "consumed" her adolescent years. "I was embarrassed and ashamed of what had happened. I became paranoid about how I looked and what I wore and spent years wearing tracksuits as I felt safer dressed like that."

The victim said she tried to live with the secret for years. "I finally found the courage to open up to my family and tell them what had happened to me. It was a secret I couldn't carry any more."

Judge Sean O Donnabhain jailed Murray as he said he found little evidence of remorse.

No apology was offered in court by the pensioner, who has no previous convictions. During sentencing, Murray briefly held his hands to his face and repeatedly shook his head.

The judge noted the impact of the trial and the media coverage on the victim. "You put her through that," he told Murray as he described the woman's victim impact statement as "eloquent".

The judge said that Murray's advanced age and health had to be factors in sentencing as he imposed a four-year prison term but suspended the final three years. He also ordered that Murray be listed on the Sex Offenders' Register.

Murray, dressed in a grey suit, open-neck shirt and kerchief, remained emotionless as he was led away to begin his sentence. He had denied sexually assaulting the teen.

The girl said she was left shocked and frightened by the assaults which happened in Murray's car, in a pub toilet and at another premises in Cork.

Murray, of Gregg Road, Cork, vehemently denied all the charges, the first of which happened three years after he became lord mayor but while he was still serving on Cork City Council.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News