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Brave indecent assault victim waives anonymity to reveal Wicklow town attacker

David Hubbard was jailed for two years last week for the crime, which took place 37 years ago

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Catherine Potts.

Catherine Potts.

David Hubbard being led into Bray District Court on Thursday.

David Hubbard being led into Bray District Court on Thursday.

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Catherine Potts.

wicklowpeople

A woman indecently assaulted 37 years ago in Wicklow town when aged 10 has waived her right to anonymity so her attacker can be named and shamed.

On Thursday, David Hubbard was found guilty at Bray District Court of indecently assaulting Catherine Potts in the pavilion at the hockey pitch on the Dunbur Road, and was sentenced to two years. Details of the dates for the offence to which Hubbard pleaded guilty and was convicted of placed the attack as having occurred between February 1 and August 31, 1985.

Hubbard was previously convicted of assaulting a baby in Wicklow in 1992. The offences had taken place when the baby was aged just three months.

The baby suffered a blow to the head during the attack which led to the discovery of the assault.

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Hubbard, who denied the offences when questioned by gardaí, finally admitted his crimes minutes before his trial was due to begin.

He was 22 at the time and was sentenced to just four years in prison of which he served two years.

It’s understood after his release from prison here he moved first to South Africa, before moving to Great Yarmouth in the UK in 2010.

Catherine reported the historic sex attack in 2016 after seeing the pictures of Hubbard on Facebook.

Speaking after the court case, Catherine said: “I was flicking through Facebook when I came across a post featuring a picture of him with a baby that must have been no older than six-months sitting on the ground beside him. It just set off massive alarm bells. I thought ‘He is still in contact with babies and infants’.

“I contacted the Gardai immediately and also tried to contact the girl he was over there with. She was very vulnerable and it was her sister I ended up mainly dealing with. I sent her over newspaper clippings from the previous case. After a while the sister contacted me to say ‘We believe you’.”

While understandably hesitant to relive such traumatic childhood memories, Catherine found solace in the professionalism and understanding she was provided with by An Garda Síochána when she contacted them after seeing the Facebook post.

Catherine said: “I just felt he has gotten away with this for years and I had to do something to make sure he didn’t harm any more victims. He has ruined the lives of people. I have to say Garda Ray Hughes was brilliant the whole way through. It’s not the type of situation that is easy to talk about. He took my impact statement, which was very hard for me, but he made things so easy for me.”

At the time of the assault Catherine was aged only 10, while Hubbard was around 15. Catherine was nervous attending court and wasn’t confident of a conviction. She burst into uncontrollable tears when the verdict was announced.

“I feel like I now have some form of closure. What he did to me had a huge impact on my life and all the bad memories from my childhood have been coming up when I sleep.

”It was such a relief. I had kind of built myself up into believing he would walk free out of court. The defence were pushing the whole he was a good but troubled child angle. I cried when the judge gave the verdict. My wife was with me and a friend from Cork.

“After the verdict, my shoulders just dropped as if the weight of 37 years of turmoil had been lifted from me. I thought he’s not going to harm anyone for the next few years at least.”

Now Catherine hopes the successful outcome of the case will help victims of historical sexual abuse to come forward with their stories.

“He was practically a fully grown adult when he did that to me, and I was still only a child. He knew exactly what he was doing. He made sure there was no one around. I have had to live with this for 37 years and now, finally, the shoe is on the other foot. I was never going to give up once I saw that picture of him on Facebook. All I want to do is help anyone who has been abused, just to let them know that even after 37 years you can still get justice.”


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