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Guilty plea to repeated rape of wife’s niece


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A County Kerry man will be sentenced at the Central Criminal Court later for the repeated rape of his wife’s niece in the county 30 years ago.

The now 41-year-old woman made a report to gardaí in 2019 outlining that her aunt’s husband raped her on a number of occasions, which first started when she was nine years old. She said she used to regularly visit the couple in their family home and often slept in the same bed as them.

She told gardaí that once her aunt got up in the morning, her uncle would turn her on her side, hold on tightly onto her hips and rape her. She often pretended she was asleep during the ordeal but said she could not get away from him because of the tightness of his grip on her.

An investigating garda told the court that he was alerted to the allegations when colleagues handed him video files which captured a confrontation the victim’s parents had with the accused man in February 2019.

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The previous day the woman had disclosed to her parents what had happened to her as a child. The following day her parents met the man in their local town and asked him if he had sexually assaulted their daughter.

The garda said the man replied that he “probably did. I might”. He was pressed by the couple who said “probably was not good enough”.

The father can be heard saying “I’ll ask you for the last time did you sexually assault my daughter?” to which the man replies “Right so….yes”.

The man was arrested in May 2019 and admitted to gardaí that he “had a cuddle” with the girl and later said “yeah I had sex with her”.

He said he didn’t know what age the girl was at the time but admitted she was in school. He said he didn’t know if she in primary or secondary school at that time.

The 61-year-old man pleaded guilty to four sample charges from a total of 13 charges of raping the girl on dates between 1990 and 1994.

Desmond Dockery SC, prosecuting, told Mr Justice Alex Owens that the man was 30 years old at the time of the offences while the victim was between nine and 13 years old.

Mr Dockery said the “same experience was repeated routinely” where the man would rape the girl first thing in the morning. He never spoke and always held onto her hips “so her efforts to move were futile”.

The offending came to an end when she started a part-time job as a 13-year-old girl and stopped staying in her aunt’s home.

Mr Dockery read the woman’s statement into the record in which she said “I can’t believe that at 40 years of age I can finally talk about the impact (the rapes) have had on me. Every day is a struggle. I am still discovering all the ways the abuse has affected me”.

“Putting it into words feels impossible as it feels unreal. Every day is a battle,” the woman said before she added that a smell or a photo or a word could act as a trigger and she would be “flooded with anxiety and panic”.

She said she often feels suicidal and thinks her family would be better off without her. She finds herself unable to work and she often worries that she won’t be able to function.

The woman said she blames herself so much for what happened and “mentally beats myself”.

She said there has been an impact on her children as they have missed out on having a mother as she is “emotionally unavailable” to them. She has not allowed them the freedom to be children as she worries for them.

“I remain tortured by the abuse. It has left me crippled with shame and guilt. I finally told my husband four years ago as the alternative was to kill myself,” the woman continued.

She said she sometimes feels like she is re-living the abuse and has to re-assure herself on an ongoing basis that she is safe. She suffers nightmares and flashbacks and is often unable to sleep.

“It feels like a life sentence at times and impacts on everything I do,” the woman said.

“I am determined not to be defined by my abuse but I am worried that it will always define me. I want to live my life free from anxiety,” she continued.

She finished her victim impact statement by thanking her husband for his unconditional love and support and thanked the prosecution team and “especially” the investigating gardaí.

The garda agreed with Anthony Sammon SC, defending, that his client’s “roadside admissions” were of great significance to the investigation and that his plea of guilty was a great relief to the victim.

Mr Sammon asked Mr Justice Owens to accept that a probation report before the court concluded that his client was “not quite the full shilling” but acknowledged that he still has the capacity to offend.

He said however, his intellectual functioning does “affect his insight and ability to display remorse”.

“I am instructed to say that he does regret what he has done and has some insight into the damage he has caused,” counsel said.

Mr Justice Owens revoked the man’s bail and remanded him in custody after remarking that a custodial sentence was “inevitable”. He adjourned sentencing until November 22, next.