A man who raped his step-daughter 64 times over a seven-year period has been sentenced to 12 years with the final two years suspended.
Keith Murphy (aged 41) now of Mulberry Heights, Fairfield Avenue, Farranree, Cork was convicted by a jury at the Central Criminal Court of 26 counts of sexual assault, two counts of attempted rape and 64 counts of raping the girl between May 2008 and November 2015. He had denied all the charges.
Marjorie Farrelly SC, prosecuting said that the now 18-year-old victim was waiving her right to anonymity.
Almost all of the offences took place in the former family home in Cork when the child was aged between nine and 15 years old. The jury took just under four hours to return the guilty verdicts in March.
The young woman outlined in her victim impact statement that the abuse had a “devastating, profound and far reaching” effect. She said it had impacted every part of her life and she continued to be held back “because of this horrible thing I went through.”
She said the impact had been “invasive and omnipresent” and had made her nervous around men.
She said she lost confidence and self-esteem but had the good fortune to have supportive family and friends. She said the effects of the abuse limited her life and continued to affect her on daily basis.
“I have lost so much and many of these losses cut right to the core of who I am and cannot be undone,” the young woman outlined in the statement read to the court.
Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy said that as the abuse occurred over a seven-year period beginning in 2008, Murphy could not be regarded as an ordinary first-time offender.
She imposed a 12-year sentence for each of the 64 counts of rape, a seven-year sentence for each of the sexual assaults, and a seven-year sentence for the attempted rapes.
Each one of the sentences will run concurrently with each other, beginning from the date of his conviction on March 10 this year. The final two years of the 12-year term were suspended.
A local detective garda told Ms Farrelly that the abuse tended to occur in Murphy’s bedroom which he shared with the victim’s mother and coincided with the child being given money for the cinema or swimming or being released from being grounded.
It progressed from the child initially being forced to masturbate her step-father, to an attempted rape when the family were on holiday. Later Murphy would rape her two to three times per week at the family home.
The court heard that after being raped by her step-father on one occasion in November 2015 the girl left the house and went to her aunt's home. She was very upset and disclosed what had happened.
Her mother was informed and the girl was brought first to gardai and then to a sexual assault treatment unit where a semen swab taken from her body tested positive for her step-father's DNA.
Murphy was arrested and denied sexually abusing the girl. He maintained that his semen could have come from the bed where he said he had sex with the girl's mother.
Patrick McCullagh BL, defending, said his client had a good employment history until he sustained an injury which restricted his ability to work. He submitted that his client had been providing a significant level of assistance to his parents and siblings and would be “something of a loss to his own family”.
He said Murphy’s marriage to the victim's mother had dissolved “for obvious reasons”.
Mr McCullagh submitted that Murphy had an “unblemished record” to this point and suggested he had shown in the past an ability to be a constructive member of community.