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Family friend accused of the sexual abuse of a young girl

Man (49) allegedly sexually assaulted girl (12) in her bedroom and in his car in 1991


The trial took place at Sligo Circuit Court sitting at Sligo Courthouse.

The trial took place at Sligo Circuit Court sitting at Sligo Courthouse.

The trial took place at Sligo Circuit Court sitting at Sligo Courthouse.


A man has denied charges of sexual assault, at Sligo Circuit Court.

The man, who is now in his 70s, pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting a girl on dates unknown between June 1st and December 31st, 1991 both dates inclusive, contrary to Section Two of the Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act 1990.

He is facing a total of 19 counts of sexual assault which allegedly happened at two domestic locations in county Sligo, and in his car.

Before the trial began at Sligo Courthouse before the ten man and two woman jury, Judge Kenneth Connolly ruled that nothing be published that might identify the alleged victim or the accused.

In outlining the evidence to the jury, State Prosecutor Mr Leo Mulrooney BL, instructed by Sligo State Solicitor, Elisa McHugh said the offences happened in the latter part of 1991 when the complainant was 11-12 years old, and the defendant was in his 40s.

They were not related but the defendant was a friend of the family and was a regular visitor to her house.

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He was visiting the house as a guest of the alleged victim’s mother and while he was in the house, he sexually assaulted her on a number of times in her bedroom and in a car outside her house.

It would be alleged that he touched her in a manner that was sexual in nature, kissing and touching her bare skin in intimate areas of her body.

On another occasion it was alleged she went to his house, and he sexually abused there.

Around about 2021, after allegations were made to gardaí the defendant was interviewed and he denied the allegations the court heard.

Mr Mulrooney added that the complainant, her mother and her sister would be giving evidence in the case.

The accused was represented by Mr Colm Smyth, SC, with Mr Keith O’Grady BL, instructed by William Henry, Solicitor.

The complainant, led by Mr Mulrooney told the court the accused came to her home as he was friendly with her mother.

She slept in a room at the bottom of the hall and the double bed was on the right hand side of the room.

The complainant said the accused came to her home two nights a week.

The alleged victim said she felt this “was a lot” and she that she did not like him.

“He made me feel uncomfortable,” she said.

She said the first time the accused touched her was when he tried to put his hand up the back of her top when she was sitting in the kitchen and her mother was also present.

The witness said she was sitting on the accused’s knee, and he had his hand up her back, but her mother did not notice and “I did not say anything either.”

She said she was 11 or 12 at that stage. She added that the alleged assault was before her Confirmation which was in 1992.

The witness said the defendant used to buy her clothes, like sports gear, earrings and a ring.

He also bought her sweets and chocolate and a football badge.

When asked by Mr Mulrooney about how that made her feel, she said: “I probably thought it was good at the time.”

She added that the accused used to touch her, and he used to kiss her when he came into her bedroom late at night.

The complainant added that he used to kiss her ears, neck and told her that she was gorgeous and had lovely hair. He also touched her chest and her private parts.

When asked for how long did these alleged assaults go on, the witness said: “a few months maybe, it felt longer.”

She added that the defendant was “always different towards me” and he never bothered any of the rest of her family. She was his “pet”.

The witness added that she got to know the nights the defendant was coming, and it was always late when she had gone to bed.

At weekends he had drink on him, was not drunk but he used to be breathing on top of her in the room.

The witness said she was sexually assaulted in the accused’s car also. She said her mother would call her from her bedroom to say the acccused had a present for her and she would go to his car in her pyjamas.

The defendant kissed her, touched her and touched himself in the car. She added that he touched her everywhere and over and under her pyjamas.

He made her touch him in his private parts mainly on the outside of his clothes.

When asked how often the alleged assaults happened in the car, the witness said:

“Two times a month and it happened once in his house.”

The witness said her mother told her she was going away for the day and the accused came in his car to bring her to his home.

The alleged victim said that at his home the accused put her lying on the bed, lay on top of her, rubbed himself against her and was moaning.

Afterwards, he brought her to the shop before bringing her home.

This alleged assault only happened once at his home.

When asked why the accused stopped coming to her home, she said she did not know.

Mr Smyth said that the defendant did not have a car in 1991. The complainant said she did not know that.

Mr Smyth said that at interview the accused told this to gardaí, and they have the facility to carry out checks and the defendant did not have a car in 1991.

“You are telling the jury he was calling in a car twice a week? asked Mr Smyth.

“One hundred per cent,” replied the witness.

Mr Smyth asked how long did the alleged assaults lasted.

The complainant said it was period of 8-10 weeks.

Mr Smyth said the complainant told the jury that her mother would wake her up when she was fast asleep late at night to go out to the defendant’s car.

Mr Smyth said this was not the account the alleged victim had given in a previous statement.

Mr Smyth said that in that statement the witness said the accused “started to bring me out to the car on other nights.”

“That is different to what you are saying under oath today.

“It’s a different story or version,” said Mr Smyth.

Mr Smyth said that today was the first time the court had heard about the complainant being woken up and being told by her mother to go out to the accused in the car.

Mr Smyth said it did not make a lot of sense that a mother would wake a child up late at night.

“That is a bizarre story that your mother woke you up late at night.”

Mr Smyth said the witness had given evidence that the defendant had called to her home in a car. He said this could not have happened as the defendant did not have one.

“I remember his car and I could smell his air freshener,” replied the complainant.

Mr Smyth said there was an occasion when she was in a car with the accused, but it was in another woman’s car and her husband would be giving evidence on this matter.

Mr Smyth said the man’s mother-in-law and his sons were in his house when the complainant was brought there by the lady who was driving, and it was a short visit, and the complainant was brought back by that woman.

The complainant replied that she “did not remember anything of that.”

Mr Smyth said the accused’s only mode of transport was a bicycle while he also had a tractor.

He said the accused had once visited her mother on a different matter and he had also brought her a tractor load of turf so her family could be warm for the winter.

“They were the only times that he was at your house” - Mr Smyth.

“Definitely not” - witness.

When the case resumed on its second day last Wednesday, Judge Connolly told the jury that the trial could not continue due to a legal issue.

He subsequently discharged the jury. The defendant was remanded on continuing bail until July 18.