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The Central Criminal Court.

80-year-old convicted of indecently assaulting two daughters


An 80-year-old Clare man has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison for indecently assaulting his two daughters during the early 1970s.

The man, who cannot be named in order to protect the anonymity of his victims, was found guilty of 12 counts of indecent assault after a week-long trial at the Central Criminal Court last month.

He had pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of indecently assaulting his daughter in a house and later a caravan in County Clare on unknown dates between January 1971 and December 1973. She was aged between 11 and 13 at the time.

The man had also denied indecently assaulting another daughter twice in 1980 at a caravan in County Clare, when she was aged 11 or 12. During his trial, he made admissions to one of these offences.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said he was effectively treating that admission as a plea of guilty.

The man was found not guilty of the second count in relation to his younger daughter.

Mr Justice McCarthy said the man’s abuse of his older daughter was at the most serious end of the scale of offending and involved the fundamental breach of trust of a particularly vulnerable child.

The judge said the man’s age was the only mitigating factor, but that it was not significant as he seemed a healthy man. The sentence was backdated to 15 June 2014. Mr Justice McCarthy also ordered the man be registered as a sex offender.

Detective Garda Donal Corkery told Conor Devally SC, prosecuting, that the man’s daughter was nearly 11 when he started abusing her.

He called his daughter a “red hot bitch” and told her it was a loving relationship and that he wanted to have a child by her. During the trial, the woman said her father told her he couldn’t fight his feelings for her and that she would “learn to like it”.

The woman read out a victim impact statement to the court in which she said she had suffered from panic attacks, anxiety, nightmares and constant fear from an early age because of her father’s abuse.

She said she has struggled to cope with what happened, and also with the fact that people might think she was a willing participant.

The woman said she found it very difficult to give evidence during the trial and felt she was reliving the abuse all over again.

“I still live in fear of this man,” she said of her father.

Mr Justice McCarthy said the man’s other daughter was also the victim of a “grave breach of trust” and that the offence against her was at the middle range on the scale of seriousness.

He said the accused had taken her to a caravan over a number of weeks, spoken to her of sexual matters and indecently assaulted her.

A victim impact statement was also read out on behalf of the second victim.She said she has suffered from anxiety attacks and depression for years and has huge trust issues with men, including her husband.The woman said she never wants to leave home and feels a “dark cloud” hanging over her.

The man has no previous convictions. Michael Bowman SC, defending, said the man did his best to provide for his children in terms of maintenance.

By Jessica Magee

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