A man has been sentenced to 12 years in jail for sexually assaulting and raping his young stepdaughter in Leitrim and Mayo over a four-year period.
The man (aged 37) pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to six sample counts of sexual assault and two counts of anally raping his stepdaughter in their home between 2004 and 2008 from when she was six years old.
Mr Justice Paul Carney said he noted the man’s remorse and early admissions and suspended the final four years of the term.
Detective Garda David Donnelly said the man attended voluntarily at a garda station and made full admissions after the young victim revealed details of the abuse to her mother while on holiday abroad.
Det Gda Donnelly agreed with Mr Kerida Naidoo BL, defending, that his client had displayed elements of self-loathing during the interview, described himself as a “sicko” and expressed remorse.
The detective garda accepted these expressions of remorse seemed genuine and agreed the man had written a letter apologising to the victim, her siblings and her mother before he left the house.
When gardaí asked the man to explain his behaviour he replied: “It’s either genetic or, in layman’s terms, there’s a screw loose.”
Det Gda Donnelly told Ms Geraldine Small BL, prosecuting, that the man said he started the abuse in 2004 by touching his six-year-old stepdaughter’s private parts.
The man couldn’t recall how many times he abused the child over the years but said it happened “when the opportunity was there.”
He also admitted telling the child she had “a lovely body”.
Det Gda Donnelly agreed with Mr Naidoo that when his client was asked whether it was normal for a man to be attracted to a child’s body in the same way as he would to a woman’s body, the man had replied: “If you have a sick mind like me.”
The detective garda agreed the man had showed a desire to change during interview and had explained that part of the reason he moved house with the family was so he could stop the abuse and have a fresh start with the victim.
Mr Naidoo submitted to Mr Justice Carney that his client had used no “persuasive violence” or threats to force his victim into submission.
He submitted the man had entered an early plea, “did what he could” to assist gardaí, showed real signs of remorse and was “eager” to receive counselling.
Mr Naidoo submitted that though his client showed no evidence of any serious mental illness, he’d suffered depression after his mother’s death.
He further submitted that the man had an “intellectual understanding” of the offences but no “emotional understanding.”
Det Gda Donnelly told Ms Small that the victim’s mother said the child cries at night, doesn’t talk about the abuse and was afraid of the dark for a time because she thought her abuser would return.