Father gets 15 years for raping daughter
A man has been jailed for 15 years for raping and sexually assaulting his then eight-year-old daughter.
The court had heard that the defendant gave the girl alcohol and cigarettes and made her watch a pornographic film as he abused her.
The 50-year-old man continues to deny the offences and claims the girl’s mother put her up to making the complaints.
The defendant cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim.
A sentencing hearing yesterday heard that the girl had changed from “a happy, fun-loving child” to one with severe depression.
Her mother said she worries how her child will handle her teenage years when she fully realises what happened to her.
Last month a Central Criminal Court jury took under two hours to convict the man of raping the girl between October 1st, 2009, and October 22nd, 2010, in Co Westmeath.
The jury also found him guilty of two counts of sexual assault at the same address between the same dates and one count of sexual assault in Co Clare, between October 22nd and October 26th, 2010.
He was also found guilty of inviting the child to observe a pornographic film between October 1st, 2009, and October 22nd, 2010, in Westmeath.
He had pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy imposed a combination of consecutive and concurrent sentences which gave a cumulative jail sentence of 15 years taking into account suspended portions of the jail terms.
The judge said that showing the child pornographic images might be called “a form of grooming”.
Det Garda Niall Stack told prosecuting counsel Patrick Marrinan SC that the abuse came to light when the girl’s mother noticed her acting strangely.
The child eventually told her what happened after learning in school about “bad secrets”.
The abuse happened in her house and when she visited her father.
The girl told gardaí that he made her watch an adult film on which she recognised acts her father was doing with her.
On his arrest, the man said he would never lay a finger on his daughter and that the allegations were coming from her mother.
The court heard that the defendant has no job or skills and has a drink problem. He has previous convictions for minor matters.
Mr Marrinan told Mr Justice McCarthy that the Director of Public Prosecutions believes the offending is on the upper end of the scale of gravity.
Defence counsel Anthony Sammon SC said he could offer no mitigation or remorse because his client maintains his innocence.
However, he added that his client had instructed him to conduct “virtually no cross-examination” of the child during the trial.
The judge imposed a 15-year term on the rape charge, but suspended the final five years, and then imposed a consecutive term of three years and then a further consecutive term of four years with the final two years suspended.
The man has been registered as a sex offender.