A Kerry grandfather, described as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, has been jailed for 13 years for the sexual abuse of his daughter and two of his granddaughters.
At the Central Criminal Court, the father of the youngest victim, who was the first child to report the abuse, urged parents to be vigilant if they had the “slightest inkling that a child was a little off”.
He thanked the child’s teacher who had just finished the Stay Safe programme with the class when his daughter revealed her own abuse. Her grandfather, who raped and sexually assaulted the child while babysitting her, had told her it was “their little secret”.
The accused admitted abusing all three victims. He has no previous convictions and is now wholly estranged from his family.
The 67-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victims, pleaded guilty to rape and sexual assault of the younger granddaughter on dates between 2011 and 2014.
He also pleaded guilty to sexual assault of an older granddaughter on dates between 2011 and 2012, and sexual assault of his own daughter on dates between 1995 and 1999.
Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy noted the man had repeated his sexual wrongdoing in two generations of the family. He imposed consecutive sentences totalling 13 years.
The man’s daughter, who was abused between the ages of 10 and 14, said she had believed she was the only victim. Her abuse came to an end when she shouted at her father to leave her alone.
She described the guilt she felt years later when she discovered he had abused her nieces as well. “How could you have done this to us?” she asked her father during her victim impact statement.
The younger granddaughter was aged between six and nine at the time of the abuse, while her cousin was between nine and 10. The man abused them at locations including the family home and while babysitting.
Anthony Sammon, defending, said the man was “terribly upset” at what he had done and at destroying what was once a close family. He said he was struggling to come to terms with the make-up of his own nature that brought this about.
He handed in a psychologist’s report and a bundle of testimonials from “people who spoke well of him”. He asked the court to take into account the man’s remorse, admissions, and co-operation with gardaí.
The father of the youngest victim gave a victim impact statement on her behalf. He said that, for as long as his daughter could remember, she had been subject to sexual abuse at the hands of her grandfather.
“What happened to her should never happen to any child on this earth,” he said. “How frightened and confused she must have been. Evil had entered her home, a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
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