| -2°C Dublin

Father found dead on day of rape trial

A father accused of raping and sexually abusing his daughters was found dead at his home on the morning his trial was to begin.

Gardai do not believe the death of the midlands man was suspicious and charges against him have been withdrawn.

His sudden death, just before his trial last Monday, has left his family with "mixed feelings", according to sources.

The man, who was in his mid-40s, had intended fighting the charges, which would have forced his alleged victims to give evidence at the Central Criminal Court.

He had been facing 18 charges of raping and sexually assaulting one daughter and sexually assaulting another in the 1990s.

The charges were being retried after a jury failed to reach a verdict on them last year. He had already been acquitted of other abuse charges.

The man was also due to be tried on other charges of sexually assaulting two female relatives, but a date had not yet been set for that hearing.

"There would be some mixed emotions among the family," a source said.

Traumatic

"They won't see closure now on these charges but there is a kind of relief. This type of trial is always very traumatic."

In February 2009, the man was acquitted of 10 counts of raping and sexually abusing his two daughters and raping his younger brother-in-law over an eight-year period.

He had pleaded not guilty at the start of his trial to 35 charges of sexual assault, oral rape, anal rape and rape of his two daughters and younger brother-in-law between December 1, 1991, and June 1999 when the children were aged between five and 15 years.

A jury returned a verdict of not guilty on one count of rape of his younger brother-in-law, three counts of rape of his eldest daughter, and two counts of rape and four counts of sexually assaulting his younger daughter.

The jury failed to reach a verdict on 18 outstanding charges against the man of sexually abusing his two daughters during the same period.

The accused's daughter, now in her 20s, told last year's trial that her father had raped and sexually abused her from the time she was five.

aphelan@herald.ie


Privacy