Woman alleges years of abuse at father's hands

A woman has told a jury that her father sexually abused her from the age of three to when she was 14 and said to her it was their "little secret" but that her mother would be angry.

A woman has told a jury that her father sexually abused her from the age of three to when she was 14 and said to her it was their "little secret" but that her mother would be angry.

She said she was his eldest daughter of four and she grew up believing what she alleges her father did to her was normal but always recalled feeling uncomfortable.

She said never knew "anything different" and the abuse happened all the time but her father didn’t hurt her physically. "I always remember the smell of him," she said and added: "I just put up with it."

The woman rejected the suggestion by defence counsel Mr Alexander Owens SC (with Mr William Fennelly BL), that there was just one incident of sexual abuse to which her father had pleaded guilty to putting his penis in her mouth and asking for oral sex. .

The 63-year-old accused from Co Offaly has pleaded not guilty to eight charges of raping another of his daughters and a total of 37 charges of indecent assaults of her and three other daughters on dates from 1973 to 1987.

He has pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to seven counts of indecent assault in relation to all four daughters during the same period at various addresses.

Mr Paul Coffey SC (with Ms Dara M Foynes BL), prosecuting, told the jury of nine men and three women it would hear evidence in age sequence from the accused’s four daughters.

Mr Coffey said the case arose from a garda investigation which began when the accused came to a garda station on March 12, 2001 and said he was guilty of indecently assaulting one of his daughters but denied he raped her. "Lock me up," he told the gardaí.

His eldest daughter said her father began touching her vagina when drying her after a bath when she was about three years old. His abuse progressed to putting his penis into her mouth, touching her vagina while he masturbated, getting her to feel his penis and later fondling her breasts.

She said, in reply to Mr Coffey, that she remembered her father also kissing her vagina when she was in a bunk bed. She said she would just stare at the ceiling or fix her gaze on something while he abused her.

All of these acts would happen every week until the later years when it was not as regular because she would try to keep him away from her. She would also be abusive verbally to him at this time.

The abuse stopped after an altercation between them surrounding a Valentine’s Night disco for which she wanted particular clothes. He said she could have them if she went into a bedroom with him but not if she refused. She was about 14 at the time and complained to gardai in 2001.

She told Mr Owens, in cross-examination, she had tried to blank out the memories of the alleged abuse for years but it all came back to her following a medical problem she experienced. She then had nightmares and flashbacks about the abuse

She denied the suggestion by Mr Owens that she was the strongest-willed of the four girls and said she hadn’t wanted to take the case against her father but one of her sisters did and she was backing her fully.

She agreed, in further reply to Mr Owens, that she wrote a letter in September 1999 to her father which she handed to him on the street.

Her sister told her later that their father showed her the letter and she burned it. She had threatened in the letter to tell her mother about the allegations but hadn’t told her over the years because her mother was violent to her.

She agreed she had said in her first statement to gardai "All it takes is a few minutes for a life to be ruined" but denied she had "carefully chosen" these words as suggested by Mr Owens. "It was just a figure of speech," she said.

The hearing continues before Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne.

More in this section

IE_180_logo
Price info

Subscribe to unlock unlimited digital access.
Cancel anytime.

Terms and conditions apply

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.