Court hears how man ensured girl would keep sexual abuse secret by suggesting he had killed previously

A 65-year-old man suggested he had killed a former partner to ensure the young girl he was sexually abusing would not tell anyone, a court has heard.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the now teenage girl's anonymity, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to six counts of sexual assault on dates from 2009 to 2013.

The court heard the last of these sexual assaults happened in 2013 when the then 10-year-old girl had been on a trip outside the jurisdiction with the man and his current partner. This partner is the girl's family member.

Detective Garda Ken McGreevy told Pauline Walley SC, prosecuting, that the girl had been staying in a camper van with both adults. The man had come in drunk while the girl was sleeping and put his fingers inside her. He apologised three times as the girl cried.

Det. Gda McGreevy said the girl disclosed this abuse and previous incidents of sexual assault after her mother noticed she had not seemed her usual self on her return home.

The girl subsequently told specialist garda child interviewers that the man had digitally penetrated her between 20 and 50 times over the past number of years. She said this would happen in a shed outside the man's home when he had her sitting on his knee while he was on a computer.

She said on one occasion he put his fingers inside her while they were on a walk together in Wicklow.

On another occasion, she had been spending time with the man and he lifted her on top of him as he lay in bed, pulled her pyjama bottoms down and rubbed himself off her private parts.

Det. Gda McGreevy told Ms Walley that the man made the girl promise not to tell and made reference to killing a former partner.

In a victim impact report read out by Ms Walley, the girl said she would wake up in the middle of the night with bad dreams and wouldn't be able to sleep.

She revealed she lived in fear that the man would come after or hurt her if she shared the secret. She said she has trouble trusting people and that her skin crawls when family members give her a hug.

She described how the man, through his assaults, would leave her with scrapes and scratches and that it would be painful at times to urinate because of these little cuts. She said her relationship with her father has suffered because she assumed every man wanted to hurt her.

“A simple hug makes me feel really uncomfortable”, she said.

The man claimed to gardaí in interview that he might have accidentally touched her over her clothes if he had been sitting watching TV with his arm around her. Similarly, he claimed the touching might have been accidental while he was helping her ride a bicycle without stabilisers.

He told gardaí he had memory problems but also said the girl was an honest, intelligent child who was not a liar.

When asked if he was a paedophile in light of these allegations, the man replied: “Probably”.

Det. Gda McGreevy agreed with Feargal Kavanagh SC, defending, that his client couldn't bring himself to give full admissions during interview, but was accepting “some degree of paedophilia”.

Mr Kavanagh submitted to Judge Cormac Quinn that the defence was awaiting a psychological report and asked for the case to be adjourned.

Judge Quinn granted the adjournment and remanded the man on continuing bail until sentencing in May.

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