Carlow man raped girl from age of six

A Carlow pensioner has being jailed for seven years for raping a girl from the age of six, which the victim claimed under oath at the Central Criminal Court happened "hundreds of times".

John (Bob) Farrell (aged 70) of New Oak Estate, Carlow also sexually assaulted the girl and her sister in his home with the threat to one of them that if they told anyone their mother would be taken away from them.

Detective Garda Maria McWey told prosecuting counsel, Mr Paul Coffey SC, that the victims waived their right to anonymity and wanted Farrell named in media reports.

He pleaded guilty to raping one victim and to four counts of indecent assault on both of them on dates from 1976 to 1982.

Farrell apologised from the witness box to the victims for his crimes against them.

Mr Justice Carney directed that Farrell be registered as a sex offender and said the multitude of assaults, the disparity of age and breach of trust were major aggravating factors against Farrell.

His guilty pleas and remorse were the only mitigating matters he could find in Farrell's favour.

Det Gda McWey told Mr Coffey that Farrell began sexually assaulting one of the girls in 1976 shortly after she made her First Holy Communion.

She was in his home when her parents were at work when he began sexual contact. He then frequently raped her from behind from the ages of six to eight, mainly in his kitchen.

Det Gda McWey said he also raped her in a bedroom, a car and a nearby field. One assault happened when she was out collecting rushes to make crosses for St. Brigids Day.

He also abused her six-year-old sister.

Both women read out emotional victim impact statements in court in which one of them accused their families of "brushing this matter under the carpet for years".

The now 38-year-old woman alleged she came forward to her relations but they brushed it under the carpet after another uncle said it was "family business".

She told Mr Justice Carney that due to the proceedings she suffered from depression, mood swings and vomiting and felt Farrell "dragged it out at every opportunity".

"Who cares about the nightmares I had and still do," she said. "He told me if I told my mam she would be taken away from me. She was in the end, so what have I got to lose."

The 32-year-old woman said she had attempted suicide several times because of the assaults and was still attending counselling. She described meeting Farrell on the street after the allegations came to light, saying he waved at her and pulled a face.

She dismissed Farrell's apology saying he was only pleading guilty to get a lighter sentence.

"I know he is not sorry for what he did to me. Paedophilia is not a disease, therefore it can never be treated or cured."

Det Gda McWey said the older sister went to gardaí in February 2003 and Farrell was arrested in December that year. He initially admitted he fondled the girls but denied rape but later said he attempted to have sexual intercourse with one but was unable.

Defence Counsel, Mr Denis Vaughan Buckley SC, said Farrell was a widower with three adult children. His wife died at 46 from a major drinking problem. He suffered from arthritis.

Mr Vaughan Buckley said Farrell had worked in various menial jobs since the age of 12 and was now on the state pension.

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