A Clare man who threatened to kill his partner’s nine-year-old daughter if she told anyone of his sexual abuse has been jailed for 13 years.
The three-year period of severe abuse was only uncovered when the victim’s younger brother, who was five years old, told their aunt. The court heard the girl is now “extremely traumatised.”
The 25-year-old man pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to one sample count each of anal rape and sexual assault of the girl between 2009 and 2012 in County Clare.
Describing the abuse as being in the highest category of gravity, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said the man “repeatedly and flagrantly” breached the trust placed in him by the victim’s mother, and the life of his victim will be “permanently marred” by his crimes.
The abuse began when the man moved in with the victim’s mother and lasted until the return of the victim’s aunt from overseas. The parties in the case cannot be identified to protect the victim’s anonymity.
Describing the abuse as “almost beyond belief”, Mr Justice Hunt said the man deserved credit for his guilty plea but had to receive a long sentence for the appalling experience he subjected the victim to.
He suspended five years of an 18 year sentence and added the man to the sex offender’s register for life.
A local garda told Anthony Sammon SC, prosecuting, that the aunt asked the victim and her brother how the man was treating them. The five year old boy began to tell her about the abuse, upon which the girl became very upset and pleaded with the boy not to say anything.
The abuse was then reported to gardaí. In an interview carried out by a garda specialist the victim told of the abuse.He performed oral sex on her and anally raped her nine or 10 times.
She said the abuse took place in every room of the family home. The abuse happened when she was between six and nine years old.
In a report read to the court a psychotherapist said it was very sad to see how the abuse had affected the “extremely traumatised” girl, who is now 12-years-old.
The report described her as quiet, withdrawn and nervous in therapy sessions and displaying symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder.
In a victim impact statement read to the court the girl described herself as feeling “scared, angry, dirty, sad, terrified, worried, nervous, never happy, shy and guilty”.
She said the man threatened to kill her if she told her family or friends. She said she couldn’t sleep in the dark any more and “will probably never be happy again”.
Michael Bowman SC, defending, said the man wanted to make a deep and sincere apology, and that he “simply fails to offer any rational explanation for his wrongdoing”.
Counsel said the man, who has previous convictions for theft and cultivation of cannabis and opium, understood that a long term of imprisonment was inevitable and that “something deep-seated within him requires ongoing treatment.”
By Declan Conlon