Stepfather used dog lead during abuse

George Crombie. Picture: Courtpix

A woman whose stepfather put a dog lead around her neck and sexually assaulted her as a child has condemned him for betraying her love and trust in him.

George Crombie told his stepdaughter there would be “murder in this flat” if she told her mother about the abuse, which took place over a three-year period when she was aged between 10 and 13 years old.

“How could I ever get over what my stepfather, who I loved and trusted, did to me as a 10-year-old girl,” Laura Johnston, now in her 20s, told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday in an emotional victim impact statement. The court heard she wished to waive her right to anonymity.

Crombie, aged 47, with an address in Bloomfield Avenue, South Circular Rd, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty to eight counts of sexually assaulting Ms Johnston in their Ringsend home between February 2004 and December 2006.

Garda Sandra Fitzgerald agreed with Dean Kelly, prosecuting, that Crombie had been with Ms Johnson’s mother since she was a small child and Ms Johnston had a number of younger half-siblings.

The court heard Ms Johnston thought Crombie was her real father until she was aged 10, when her mother told her he was in fact her stepfather. When told the news, Ms Johnston showed her support for Crombie by ripping up the birth cert that said he was not her real father.

However, shortly afterwards, he started acting differently towards her.

“He started questioning her about her friends and boys,” said Mr Kelly.

Crombie then started going into her bedroom when her mother and siblings were asleep and touching Ms Johnston while she was lying in bed, the court heard. The abuse happened every Thursday and Saturday night, when Crombie had been out drinking.

He entered her bedroom and touched her stomach, legs, and bottom while she lay in bed. She believed he had a fetish for stomachs and bottoms, Mr Kelly said.

On another occasion, Crombie put a dog lead around Ms Johnston’s neck while he sexually assaulted her.

On another occasion, Crombie had a knife stuck in the waistband of his pyjama bottoms and Ms Johnston was “petrified”.

Eventually, when Ms Johnston threatened to tell her mother about the abuse, Crombie told her: “If you tell your mam there will be murder in this flat.”

The abuse stopped after this incident, Mr Kelly said.

Shortly afterwards, the relationship between Crombie and Ms Johnston’s mother broke down and they split up. Ms Johnston later confided in her mother, who organised counselling for her. She went to gardaí in 2015.

Crombie made full and immediate admissions to gardaí when interviewed.

Dominic McGinn, defending, said Crombie was extremely remorseful for the “completely wrong, shameful, and disgusting” offences he carried out on his stepdaughter.

Judge Melanie Greally adjourned the matter for sentencing next Monday.


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