Two life sentences for man who raped young girls in Co Westmeath

Criminal Courts of Justice

A man has today been given two life sentences for the rape of two young girls in Co Westmeath.

The 30-year-old had pleaded guilty to three counts of the rape of a nine-year-old and two rape counts relating to the six-year-old girl at an address in Co Westmeath on September 28, 2013.

The girls were playing on a green close to a house in which their families were attending another child's birthday party at around 4pm in the afternoon.

The two girls told specialist child interviewers that they were playing on a tree and hadn't eaten any cake yet. They noticed the man looking at them and one girl said later that she thought he was planning his attack.

The man approached them and asked if they wanted to meet his six-year-old sister in his flat. He told them: “She is a bit shy now, come on, come on.”

One girl told gardaí: “It's like as if we were lured in”.

Once inside, the man trapped them and took their clothes and his own off. He told them: “B***h, take them off or I will cut your parent’s throat open and then cut yours”.

When the younger girl began to cry he told her to shut up and slapped her face. He told her again that if she opened her mouth he would cut her Mum and Dad's throat.

She told gardaí that this made her feel very sad because she didn't want him to cut Mum and Dad's throat.

She said that when the man began to open his trouser belt she thought “he was going to pee on her”. He then raped the older girl a number of times on a mattress on the floor. He next raped the younger victim before finally raping the older girl again.

At one stage, he asked the six-year-old, while raping her, if she could feel it. She told gardaí she it was very sore.

After he was finished with them the man let the children put their clothes back on, but not their shoes. He told them to lie down on the floor for 20 minutes and he left the room.

The older girl opened a window and the pair climbed through. She told the younger girl that they would be in the flat forever if they didn't escape now.

Both girls were taken to hospital where they had to get injections for AIDS, Hepatitis C and other STDs. The father of the six-year-old said that having to make this decision to give her this treatment and “poison” his daughter was one of the hardest decision of his life.

The man was identified by one of the girls shortly after the attack and detained by relatives of the victims. He was arrested and initially denied the attacks.

On the fifth garda interview, he admitted everything and told gardaí that he had been drinking cider and vodka since seven that morning and had taken valium tablets. He said that a local priest had given him €10 that morning for food but he had used it to buy cider.

In her victim impact statement, the mother of the nine-year-old said that since the attack she is living a nightmare that she can't wake up from.

The mother said: “The man made a cold predatory decision to rape my daughter. He made her believe in her little heart that she would die if she didn't comply. He gratified himself on the body of an innocent child”.

She said she lies awake at night tormented by unbearable images and that she imagines hearing her child's heart beating in fear.

She said her daughter has gone from being a happy exuberant child to a worried reserved person who doesn't feel safe anymore.

The father of the youngest victim sobbed while reading through his victim impact statement in which he said that hearing his child first tell him what the man had done to her was “like a bomb going off in his head”.

He said that his daughter has repeatedly asked him about why the accused did what he did. She described the pain of the rape as cutting like a knife.

He said she freezes or panics when she sees “creepy men everywhere, everyday” and refused to be on her own at any time, including at night time.

He said the idea that she had to perform sex acts on the man “incredulous and deplorable”, adding “This just blows your mind” to know that she was used in such a “disgusting and abusive way”.

In a poem he wrote and read out in court he asked: “What can a Daddy do to protect this princess beauty? Are we lost to evil?”

In a plea for mitigation to the court, Martin Giblin SC, defending, said the rapist had a difficult family background and his father had abandoned him when he was six years old.

He said that in an extensive medical history that took place as a result of contact with psychological services there was “not a trace or scintilla of evidence of any form of paedophilia in his medical records”.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Paul Carney said it was “too upsetting” to recite the facts heard in court earlier today.

He said: “A feature of this case was to observe the cases of the hard-boiled press corps having difficulty listening to the facts emerging.”

Justice Paul Carney allowed media to name the man. However, one of the fathers of the victims said that he worried that his family would be identified in their town if the man were named.

The judge said in the normal course the accused man would be entitled to a substantial discount for his early plea, but he added “this case is too serious”.

He said for the past 20 years he has refrained from saying “this is worst case ever” because doing so has always prompted an even worse case to come along the following week.

The two young girls were issued with an apology, but only after the Galway man was jailed for life. Those were his instructions to his barrister.

The 30-year-old man has a history of crime, mainly for minor offences. He had been released from jail three days before he carried out the attacks.

He showed no emotion at the two life sentences imposed by the court.

The ISPCC welcomed the sentence, saying that it “reflects the depravity of the crime committed and sends a very clear message that this crime is unacceptable and will be punished”.

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