Former lord mayor of Cork jailed for a year for sex offences
John Murray placed on the Sex Offenders Register for sexually assaulting a teenage girl
John Murray of Gregg Road in Cork was found guilty of five counts of sexually assaulting a girl while in her teens at four locations in the city on various dates between March 1996 and October 1998. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Cork Courts Limited
A former lord mayor of Cork was jailed for a year today (Mon) 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) of Gregg Road in Cork was found guilty of five counts of sexually assaulting the girl while in her teens at four locations in the city on various dates 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 occured. He testified that he was shocked and disgusted by the allegations.
The victim in the case had told the jury of seven men and five women that she was first sexually assaulted by Mr Murray at the age of 13 at a location in Cork city.
The then city councillor said she was a beautiful girl and began kissing her lips and groping her neck and breasts. The woman, who is now in her thirties, said on one occasion he confronted her in the toilets of a pub and rubbed her breasts while during another incident he pulled down her underwear and put his fingers in her to vagina while he masturbated with his other hand.
The victim also stated that Mr Murray sexually assaulted her in a car. During one assault he whispered in to 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 I went from being a happy, outgoing child to being an angry, isolated and withdrawn teenager.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.”
The victim in the case 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 (Mr Murray) 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.”