Man found guilty of raping his young cousin on a weekly basis in mid 80s

By Jessica Magee

A 52-year-old man found guilty of raping his young cousin on a weekly basis in the mid 1980s is to be sentenced this coming Friday at the Central Criminal Court.

The court heard that the girl was seven years old when her cousin first tried to rape her in the south-east of the country while the rest of the family attended a 21st birthday party in a local hotel.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found guilty by a jury of one count of attempted rape in January 1984.

He was also convicted of five sample charges of raping the girl on a regular, weekly basis between mid-1985 and mid-1986.

The father-of-four had denied all charges against him but a guilty verdict was returned after trial last month.

Alex Owens SC, prosecuting, told the court that the repeated abuse began when the accused, then aged 17, came to live with the girl's family.

Mr Owens said the man would use the opportunity of the child's parents going out every Friday night to rape her in the front room on a regular basis, week in, week out.

In her victim impact statement which was read out in court on her behalf, the woman said her childhood was taken away from her and she suffered in silence.

She said this pain continued into adulthood with suicidal thoughts, anxiety and depression.

The woman said the anxiety really took over in the last 15 years after she had her own children, when she thought that as she had not been able to protect herself, she would be unable to protect them.

“I became over-protective of my children; I felt I had no control. My confidence was shattered,” she said.

After meeting the accused in a pub in 2014, the woman said her trust went completely and she was afraid to be alone in her own home, always making sure all doors and windows were locked.

However, she said that since her abuser was convicted, her health and emotional well-being had improved, she no longer took medication and wanted to rebuild her life.

Garda Daniel Whelan said the complainant, now aged 42, made a statement in 2014 after her husband contacted the guards on her behalf.

In her statement, the woman recalled going to her grandmother's house in January 1984, while most of her family went to a hotel to celebrate the 21st birthday of a family member.

The accused was babysitting the girl and he said he had something to show her and carried her upstairs to a bedroom.

He attempted to rape her and she gave evidence of feeling very sore for days afterwards. She said he was aggressive and threatened her not to tell anyone or there would be “big trouble”.

The accused came to live with the girl's family the following year and used to babysit her and her brother once a week when their parents went out to music sessions.

She said her brother would be allowed out to play and she would be left on her own with her older cousin.

She said he would lock the back door and empty the contents of his pockets on the mantelpiece, always giving her gifts of sweets or money when he abused her.

The abuse started with sexually inappropriate contact, leading eventually to rape on a weekly basis.

In her victim impact statement, the woman said she was “roaring with pain” the first time and suffered so much physically that she found it difficult to walk at times.

The man has no previous convictions and has not come to garda attention since this offence.

Colman Cody SC, defending, said this of itself was evidence of “self-rehabilitation”.

He also pointed to the 30-year gap between offending and sentencing, commenting that there was “a greater degree of information and education” around sexual matters today.

The court was handed numerous testimonials from the accused's adult children, neighbours and friends, amongst whom he was in “remarkably good standing”, counsel said.

Mr Cody maintained that the accused was still entitled to the benefit of the doubt in the context of sentencing.

He said his client had a good work history here and in the UK until he separated from his wife in 2007 and was left with the care of his four children.

“This is undoubtedly a fall from grace and he will suffer fallout in the eyes of his family,” counsel said.

Mr Justice Michael White said he would be imposing a custodial sentence and that there were “substantial aggravating factors” including the impact on the complainant and the fact that the accused had not acknowledged his guilt.

The accused was remanded in custody for sentencing on Friday.



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