Former lord mayor (83) jailed for year for sexual assaults on teenager in 1990s
Judge suspends three years of custodial sentence for age, health and lack of previous convictions
John Murray: the retired taxi driver and former Labour city councillor insisted that none of the assaults ever occurred. He said he was shocked and disgusted by the allegations. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Cork Courts Limited
A former lord mayor of Cork has been jailed for a year and placed on the sex offenders register for sexually assaulting a teenage girl who told the court the abuse had “consumed” and “tainted” her adult life.
Last month John Murray (83), Gregg Road, Cork, was found guilty of five counts of sexually assaulting the girl while she was in her teens at between March 1996 and October 1998.
He had pleaded not guilty to six counts of sexually assaulting the girl but was acquitted on one count.
Giving evidence during a four-day trial at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, the retired taxi driver and former Labour city councillor insisted that none of the assaults ever occurred. He said he was shocked and disgusted by the allegations.
The victim had told the jury that she was first sexually assaulted by Murray at the age of 13 in Cork city.
The then city councillor said she was beautiful and began kissing her and groping her. The woman, who is now in her 30s, said Murray sexually assaulted her in a car. During one assault, he whispered in her ear: “I would love to f*** you.”
In a victim impact statement during sentencing at Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday, the complainant said the abuse completely changed the direction of her teenage years.
“It has consumed my life since then. I went from being a happy, outgoing child to being an angry, isolated and withdrawn teenager. I was embarrassed and ashamed of what had happened. He was a former lord mayor and a prominent member of Cork society and I felt scared and worried that I wouldn’t be believed. He was only in his 60s at the time, a tall strong man, and I felt very intimidated by him. Once the abuse began, I quickly gave up all my hobbies and activities and I became withdrawn. I became paranoid about how I looked and what I wore.”
She also spoke of the difficulties involved in testifying in a high-profile case. “I have had to sit and divulge my innermost secrets and details to a room full of people and giving my evidence has made me relive it all again in my head. There has been huge media attention on this case. I have had to put on a brave face each day and try to find the courage to carry on.
“I am glad now that will finally answer for the pain and anguish he has put me through and I can get some sort of closure from this and move on. I now look forward to starting a new chapter in my life.”