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Rapist father took care to keep girls in their private hell

HE always chose remote and uninhabited locations. Invariably, he chose a spot close to a wood. And then he would bring his daughters deep into the trees.

They lived in both the east and the west of the country but the eventual destinations for the Traveller family were never an accident.

It was carefully planned by the rapist father, who did not want anyone nearby while he carried out his horrific acts of abuse against his defenceless children.

"It's very clear what his strategy was. He moved all the time and wanted to be as far away from people as possible, so that nobody would know what he was doing," a garda who worked on the case revealed.

When it suited him, he would take one of his daughters deep into the forest and abuse them.

One child was just nine when he tied her to a tree with wire and buggered her before turning her around, tying her once more and raping her.

He tied another daughter to a tree with string and proceeded to rape her. She had to wait for her brother to come along to free her.

"Sometimes when he'd rape us, he'd take us into the woods, the way no one would hear you scream," the daughter recalled.

She added: "He raped me sometimes three to four times in the day -- he used to change camps all the time."

Other times, he raped the girls on the floor of the caravan, in his bed and outside the caravan. He raped two of them across the bonnet of a car.

They had no chance to fight him off. One child pointed out that she was just six stone while he was all of 20 stone.

But she still found the courage to fight back when she saw her eldest sister being raped. She was just 13 when she jumped on her father's back as her sister pleaded with her to help.

He turned around and struck her, calling her names, before storming out of the caravan.

The eldest daughter had a nightmare existence at his hands. The young woman was first raped in a press at about five years of age.

"He told me, 'It's a game we're playing -- we can't tell your mother about it,'" she remembered.

A forensic scientist later concluded that the man was almost 100pc certain to be the father of the daughter's own two children.

"He kept raping me after I had my (first) daughter, she said. "He'd perform sex on you every way, you know."

But it all ended two years ago when a young man walked into a garda station and reported that his father had raped his sister.

Both parents were arrested on Christmas Eve, 2009 and have been in custody since.

Irish Independent