72-year-old jailed for four years for ‘horrific abuse’ of granddaughter, 9

A 72-year-old man made his granddaughter act out scenes from internet pornography with him, a court has heard.

The case was at the high end of the scale, Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said yesterday, as he imposed a seven-year jail term, with the last three years suspended.

The sexual offender cannot be named as it would identify the child.

The accused was convicted last November. Yesterday Christopher Meehan, defending, said the accused did not accept the jury’s verdict.

Judge Ó Donnabháin said the jury saw the girl give her evidence by video link to Cork Circuit Criminal Court and they believed her “because her evidence was powerful and true.”

“The complainant was subjected on a repeated basis to dreadful, horrific abuse,” he said.

“You were showing her graphic abuse from your own store of material and subjected to this breach of trust by you.

“This was an extremely loving, caring child that you abused. She was sent down to you because your wife had died and to comfort and help you. And you abused her in this base way.

“I agreed for once with the DPP, these offences were very much at the higher end of the scale, showing the child of this age pornographic videos and getting her to try to act them out is really dreadful.”

Judge Ó Donnabháin said the accused had met the case with absolute and dogged determination and an absence of remorse.

The victim said she was most hurt by the fact that her grandfather knew what he had done but still put her through having to give evidence in the trial and he did not tell the truth.

Judge Ó Donnabháin said: “He destroyed her innocence. He may have done that but he cannot deny her her happiness.”

There was evidence during the trial that he also sexually assaulted the child while he watched Coronation Street and on another occasion got her to play strip poker with him.

The accused had denied all four charges of sexually assaulting the nine-year-old in West Cork.

Asked by investigating gardaí why she would have made the claims if they were untrue, the accused said the girl was being put up to it for money because her parents had financial trouble.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said of the injured party, who gave her evidence by video from a room separate from the courtroom: “I thought she was very convincing and very well grounded and to be absolutely believed on everything she said.”

Mr Meehan gave a detailed account of the defendant’s poor health, which he said made imprisonment worse for him. He also said the accused continued to maintain his innocence.

The accused has been in custody since the jury found him guilty in November.

Judge Ó Donnabháin backdated the sentence to that date.


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