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Monday 27 January 2020

Rape victim says 'hero' father stole her trust and innocence

Declan Brennan

A SLIGO man -- who is already behind bars for raping his daughter -- has been jailed for 15 years for the repeated rape of a second teenage daughter and fathering her child.

The victim, who said her father had been her hero when she was growing up, was abused every two or three weeks from the age of 13.

Some of the abuse took place in her father's bedroom at night when she went there because she was afraid of ghosts.

During the trial, the woman said that after the first rape in 2006 her father smiled at her as he told her she was no longer a virgin.

The abuse began in September 2005 when the girl was aged 13 and continued for two years until after she got pregnant.

The 48-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim, had pleaded not guilty last month to eight counts of sexual assault and seven counts of rape at the family home between September 2005 and September 2007.

Within two years of the abuse beginning in the family home in Sligo, the victim was pregnant with her father's child.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy yesterday sentenced the man to 15 years at the Central Criminal Court.

Last year, the man -- who called another teenage daughter a whore after raping her -- was jailed for 10 years

Reading her own victim impact report to the court, the woman yesterday said she blamed herself for the abuse when it was taking place.

"I trusted my dad. He was my hero growing up. I never knew what he was doing to me, I always felt it was my fault and I was ashamed of myself," she said.

"He stole my trust and stole my innocence. I wanted my dad to feel proud of me but he physically and mentally abused me."

She said when social services and school liaison officers came to the house, in her head she was screaming but there was always an "emotional ball and chain" keeping her quiet.

"I never knew when the abuse would start. I was constantly on edge," she said.

"He humiliated me and made out I was the one who wanted it." She added that she had waited so long to see him found guilty of the abuse and that his lack of remorse during the trial had left her "deeply traumatised".

Detective Garda Pauline McDonagh told barrister Anne Marie Lawlor the victim told gardai her father sexually abused her once every two to three weeks from when she was 13.

Valerie Tomlinson, a biologist with the UK's Forensic Science Service, said that DNA tests showed the man was 20,000 times more likely to have fathered his daughter's child than anyone else unrelated to him.

Ms Tomlinson said: "In my opinion, the DNA profiles provide very strong support for the assertion that (the accused) is the natural father of (the named child) rather than an unknown man unrelated to (the accused)".

The victim said: "I was brainwashed by this man. He was my only parent. I had no mum. I had no one else to turn to. He was the only one looking after me. I did feel safe around my dad at some stage."

Her father would punch her and kick her out of the bed when she asked him to stop touching her.

The court heard that during garda interviews the man told them he had a clear conscience and believed in God.

Irish Independent

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