An elderly and infirm Wexford father has been jailed for 12 years for raping and sexually abusing his two daughters over two decades ago.
The 70-year-old, who cannot be named to protect his victims’ identities, was found guilty by a jury following a one week trial at the Central Criminal Court. The abuse spanned a 13 year period and began when the girls were six and four years old respectively.
He had pleaded not guilty to 13 counts of rape and six counts of indecent assault against the older victim and 11 counts of raping her younger sister. The abuse occurred in two family homes in Wexford between 1975 and 1988.
Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan acknowledged that the man had accepted the jury’s decision and would not be appealing conviction.
Defence counsel Michael Delaney SC apologised to the two victims on behalf of his client at the sentence hearing.
Mr Justice Sheehan noted the women’s “great courage and resilience” in the face of their abuse. He said he would take into consideration the man’s apology, remorse and lack of previous convictions, as well as the DPP’s suggestion that the scale of abuse was at the higher range of offending.
The judge imposed a 15-year sentence but suspended the final three and ordered that the man undergo one year post release supervision. He backdated the sentence to when the man entered custody in December last year.
During the trial, prosecution counsel Paddy McCarthy SC told the jury that the man did not work at the time and would be in the house alone while his wife was out earning.
The first victim recalled being shown pornographic images at the age of three and a half. He later began showing her pornography on a projector.
She was first raped when she was five years old. From then on he would rape her regularly, “whenever he could get his hands on me.”
She said the abuse took place in the sitting room and in the back bedroom and would occur up to four or five times a month. One on occasion his wife walked in during the abuse and he claimed he was checking to see if the victim had wet herself.
He began anally raping the girl when she was seven years old and continued until she was about 15. She said the last instance of abuse occurred when she was 19.
The woman said that when she was 21 she saw that her 16-year-old sister was hysterical and “had the fear of God in her.” She brought her aside and asked if their father had also being abusing her.
“She was trembling,” the woman told counsel. “I brought her to my bedroom and I locked the door and slept with her that night, she felt so alone.”
The younger victim told the court that her father abused her from the age of four years old. She said it would occur in a bedroom and he would “always, always check out the window to make sure no one was coming.”
She said she would do all she could to avoid going back to the house “because I knew what was facing me when I went back; constant molestation and rape.”
She said that this could happen up to five times a week when she was younger and tapered off as she grew up.