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Rapist's suicide threats if girl told

A man who raped a young girl and later held a gun to his head and threatened to kill himself if she told anyone has been jailed for four and a half years.

The victim said in a statement that in the years following the rape she tried to commit suicide by taking pills and when she told her attacker this he just laughed.

The 39-year-old man pleaded guilty to the rape of the then 13-year-old girl at his home in Sligo between September 1 and October 15, 2004.

Sergeant John Barry said the accused had been in a long-term relationship with the girl's mother which had ended several years previously. The girl and her siblings kept in close contact with the man and would frequently visit his house.

She was staying with him one night and the two were watching television in his bedroom when he raped her.

He asked her not to tell anyone and she continued to visit him. She would threaten to tell people what happened and he said he would kill himself if she did. Once he put his legally held firearm to his head and said he would shoot himself if she told.

He later told gardai he was very protective of her and would frequently ring her to make sure she was okay. He said he promised to stop arguing with her if she did not report him but in 2006 she went to gardai.

Sgt Barry agreed with Mr Brendan Grehan, defending, that the incident was a once-off and the man was hard-working. He had no previous convictions.

Mr Justice Paul Carney ordered he be registered as a sex offender and that he undergo three years of post-release supervision.