A man who sexually assaulted his granddaughter at least three times over the course of four years has been given a suspended prison sentence.
The 69-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim, began fondling the girl when she was just under ten years old.
He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the sexual assault at his Dublin city home between January 2003 and December 2007.
The victim, now aged 18, said the abuse would happen on a regular basis when she would visit her grandparent’s home.
The court heard these visits took place at least twice a month. The accused man denied that the assaults happened so regularly and said it only happened on three occasions.
Garda Caitriona Byrne told prosecuting counsel Tara Burns BL that the victim was aged nine when her grandfather called her into his bedroom to watch a TV programme she liked.
After turning the girl around he put his hands on her breasts and rocked over and back behind her. Afterwards he told her that this was their little secret.
During another incident the man tried to unbutton the girl’s jeans but couldn’t because his hands were shaking. He later told the girl she was his favourite.
Paul Greene SC, defending, said that a psychological metrics assessment had found his client to be at a low risk of reoffending.
He said the man had an abusive dependency on alcohol and was now living alone in a retirement community.
Judge Nolan said the man now lives a lonely existence and had lost the love of his family as a result of his crimes.
He noted the degree of abuse was less than that of other cases that come before the court although this was of no consolation to the victim.
He suspended a sentence of four years on the condition that the man is of good behaviour for that period and that he places himself under the supervision of the probation services for two years.
The judge also ordered that the man be registered as a sex offender.