Kildare man who tied daughter to tree to rape her gets 12 years

A Kildare farm labourer has been jailed for 12 years for raping and sexually abusing his daughter for almost a decade.

A local detective garda revealed that the man abused his daughter from when she was three years old.

On one occasion when the girl was aged about 12 years, the man tied her to a tree with calving rope and raped her. The detective explained that this rope tightens when it is pulled.

He told Remy Farrell BL, prosecuting, that on another occasion the man tried to give the girl a tablet in a chocolate bar before he brought her to a secluded woodland area and raped her.

Gardaí found a condom with the man’s DNA in a search of the spot after the girl made her formal complaints.

The man (aged 48) who cannot be named to protect the victim’s identity, had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to 18 counts of sex assault, one count each of oral rape and attempted rape and four counts of raping his daughter on dates between 2001 and 2010.

He has no previous convictions and does not accept the jury’s verdict. Two jurors were present in court for the sentence finalisation.

The detective told Mr Farrell that the victim, who was absent from court, confided in her mother about the abuse when her parents' relationship ended.

During two sessions with garda specialist child interviewers, the girl revealed that her father first abused her when she was three years old. She told them the abuse happened everyday, and that he raped her for the first time on her seventh birthday when the rest of her family were out buying presents.

The detective revealed that uniformed gardaí happened upon the man’s car pulled into an ESB substation one evening.

The girl said during interview that her father had started to abuse her by pinning her down by the shoulders with his knees. He got back into his driver’s side when he saw the patrol car arrive.

On another occasion the man slapped his daughter as he forced her to perform oral sex on him. During this act, he told her she was "brilliant".

The detective told Mr Farrell that the man locked his daughter into a shed in the dark after one rape, before she escaped about an hour later.

The man denied all allegations during his garda interviews and suggested his daughter was making them up.

The detective read out the girl’s victim impact statement, in which she described how she could never call her father “dad” again. She said words such as “shame, hurt, anger, depression, fear” are constantly in her head.

She said the man made her feel like the abuse was a “normal father/daughter thing” and that sometimes she feels “death is the only answer”.

The girl also described not knowing if she would ever be able to have a boyfriend. She attributed being bullied at school to having no confidence from her abuse.

“Any man can be a father, but it takes a good man to be a dad,” the girl stated. She praised the gardaí who had conducted the investigation and said she thought she was now ready for counselling.

The detective said there was medical evidence that the girl had been physically damaged from all the abuse.

He agreed with Conor Devally SC, defending, that the man had had a disruptive background.

Mr Devally submitted to Mr Justice Barry White that his client had been abused himself which would perhaps explain his behaviour, though not excuse it.

He said the man has low literacy skills and had been “intellectually and educationally” deprived.

He asked the judge to take into account that his client was unlikely to pose a risk in future outside his family.

Mr Justice White said he agreed with the DPP’s view that the rape offences warranted a 15-year sentence.

He suspended the final three years of the sentence for three years, taking into consideration the man’s dysfunctional background and lack of previous convictions.

He ordered the man, who has been registered as a sex offender, not to have any unwanted contact with his daughter during the suspended time.

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