A father accused of sexually abusing his three children told gardaí that he had written a letter purporting to admit molesting his daughters but said the allegations were made so the children could get home from care.
The 73-year-old man has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to sexually assaulting and raping two daughters between the ages of four and 11 and sexually assaulting his son from the age of three to six at various locations between 1995 and 2002.
Detective Garda Deirdre Walsh told prosecuting counsel, Ms Isobel Kennedy SC, that she was involved in the investigation of the allegations and was present when the eldest daughter made a statement in November 2005. She made a second statement the following month and also handed over a number of letters.
Det Gda Walsh interviewed the man’s son in April 2006 and he also made a statement.
The accused man first presented himself at a garda station by arrangement in July 2006 and a number of interviews were conducted with him.
Det Gda Walsh said she was present during an interview with the man in August 2006. The man told gardaí that he believed the eldest complainant was making the allegations to avoid younger siblings being taken into care from her mother and said he had persuaded her to make false allegations.
He said he believed there was “collusion” in the allegations and they “could have come from a number of sources”. He said when he persuaded his daughter to make false allegations against him he suggested that she put in deliberate mistakes but these had not surfaced.
He agreed that he had been in contact with his daughter in breach of a care order.
Asked by gardaí why he would not suggest that the girl make allegations of physical rather then sexual abuse he replied that physical abuse would need medical evidence but sexual abuse was “the simplest form of allegation, it cannot be proven”.
The following month the accused man was interviewed in Det Gda Walsh’s presence again. When asked why he was insisting on trying to contact his children despite care orders instructing him not to, he said he had not contacted them since June 2006.
He was again interviewed in May 2007 and when asked why the children would want to make up stories about him he said it was because they wanted to get home to their mother. He said he had asked the eldest girl to make allegations and she did.
Det Gda Walsh said the accused was shown letters during interviews in October 2007 and agreed he had written them.
A letter dated January 2002 says that the man is making the statement of his own free will and says that he had molested his daughters between August 2000 and February 2002 including one occasion where he climbed in the window of a care home and sexually abused the eldest complainant.
The letter continues: “I realise I have serious problem in relation to children and I need professional help. I am sorry for the suffering I have caused my wife and children.”
The letter said he hoped his daughters would have the courage to tell someone what he had done to them and that he did not molest other children.
A later statement in April 2004 added that he had molested his daughter at a house in the countryside and that he was truly sorry and “such actions will never happen again”.
Det Gda Walsh said the accused man was charged in November 2008 and replied not guilty after each charge.
Det Gda Walsh agreed with Mr Tom Neville BL (with Mr Blaise O’Carroll SC and Mr Keith Spencer BL), defending, that she did not see any signs of sexual abuse or rape on the home videos shown in court.
The trial continues before Mr Justice George Birmingham and a jury of eight men and four women.