Dublin DJ gets ten years for 'horrendous' sexual assaults

The founder of the illegal Radio Dublin pirate station has been jailed for 10 years for sexually assaulting young girls at his home some 30 years ago.

Eamonn "Captain" Cooke (aged 70), with addresses at Heatherview Avenue, Tallaght and Wheatfields Court Clondalkin was found guilty of 42 charges of sexual assault at the Central Criminal Court at the start of the month following a 16-day trial during which it was revealed his victims named him "the Cookie monster".

"Eamonn Cooke is a sexual predator motivated by his desire for small children and that is what he is and that is what he always will be," one of his victims said in her victim impact statement to the court.

Ms Justice Maureen Clark told the two victims and their friends and family: "It has been a long five or six years for all of you and maybe a lifetime for some. I hope today gives you some sense of finality and you never have to appear in court again."

Ms Justice Clarke sentenced Cooke to 10 years comprising one year from each of the 42 counts, with five years to run consecutively for each of the two victim and the remaining 32 terms to run concurrently. She said the prison authorities are to take account of the 1,300 days Cooke had served after a previous conviction.

Inspector Gerard Kelly told Mr Patrick McCarthy SC (with Ms Isobel Kennedy SC), prosecuting, that Cooke had been convicted after a trial in 2003 and sentenced to 10 years for attempted rape, attempted unlawful carnal knowledge and sexual and indecent assault of four girls, including the two complainants in this case.

However, this conviction was subsequently quashed due to a legal technicality and he was released in May 2006.

Insp. Kelly told Mr McCarthy that Cooke had eight previous convictions spanning 51 years, including shooting with intent, arson, malicious damage and contempt of court.

He said in 1986 Cooke was given a four year suspended sentence for an arson attack on one of the complainants in the 2003 trial. This woman, who had attended court throughout the current trial, became extremely distressed after the sentence had been read out and shouted at Cooke: "I hope you rot in hell."

One of the victims told Mr McCarthy that the effects of the abuse had been "horrendous at times".

She said she could not have got through it without the support of her family and friends and in particular her husband who "restored her confidence in herself as a woman".

She said that at certain stages of legal process she had felt that she herself was on trial. "I felt my good character being assassinated."

She said Cooke "took part of my life away and that can never be restored to me". She believed that he was still a danger to children and appealed to the court to "keep him a convicted paedophile".

The woman was critical of the court process which she claimed left victims unable to follow what was going on. "We need our own personal representation. We are left like little children wondering what is going on around us."

The second victim also criticised that fact that they had needed to go through the case again. "Four times I have given evidence against Eamonn Cooke and did so to protect other children."

"It has a very strong impact, made more difficult by a system heavily weighted on behalf of the accused."

Cooke, who has 11 children between the ages of 4 and 18, continues to deny the 42 charges of indecent assault on two complainants on dates from January 1974 to May 1978 at an address in Dublin.

He claimed the allegations were made to "blacken my name" and to divert attention away from an employee he said he fired for "embezzling money from the company" which ran the illegal radio station.

Mr Niall Durnin SC (with Mr Micheal O'Connor BL), defending, said that since Cooke was "maintaining his position", he was unable to offer any mitigation apart from his client's personal circumstances.

He asked Ms Justice Clarke to take into consideration Cooke's age and the fact that he had been prevented access to his children his arrest and this fact was "weighing very heavily on him".

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