‘You have wrecked my life … my family are victims’

SOME of Gustav Dahm’s victims and their families were in court yesterday and gave harrowing accounts of the effects the abuse had on them.

One young man told Dahm in his statement: “You have wrecked my life … my family are also victims. My mother feels she has left me down and tries to take partial blame. I can’t get out of my head what you have done to me.”

Continuing, the victim said he had nightmares and had undergone a personality change.

A second victim, a girl, said she froze now every time she passed Dahm’s house.

“I feel threatened on my way down to the pier. It brings back all the memories,” she said.

Another young man said he thought he was not normal for a long time. There were times when he thought he would be better off dead. He felt degraded, embarrassed and was frightened for other children.

“I hope he’s never left near a child ever again. I hope to never see him again for as along as I live. He has ruined my life,” he said.

Rev Alan Shaw, Church of Ireland rector in Kenmare, said the Dahm family were among his parishioners. He said Gustav was very gifted with his hands, especially in mechanical and electrical matters.

“My impression would have been he’s socially and emotionally quite immature,” Rev Shaw said.

Defence counsel John O’Sullivan said his client was still receiving specialist treatment. This would not be available in custodial institutions and the defence was seeking an adjournment for a psychological report.

Judge Moran, after reading a report from the Granada Institute, said it was a serious matter and he would need some time to consider sentencing.

The judge said he knew the injured parties wanted finality and he would pass sentence at an earlier rather than a later date.

The case was adjourned until October when a psychologist is expected to give a report on the accused.

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