No sentence could 'undo the enormous damage that my father has done to me'

Tue, Jan 22, 2013, 00:00

The woman had told the court that the abuse began when her father raped her the night before her First Communion.

Fiona Doyle said her father Patrick O’Brien, now aged 72, raped her every night when her mother went out to play bingo.

Waiving her right to anonymity, she told the Central Criminal Court that no sentence imposed on O’Brien could “undo the enormous damage that my father has done to me.” She said: “It is something I have lived with since I was a young child and it’s something I will have to live with until the day I die.”

As a result of the abuse she said her first marriage failed and she made two serious suicide attempts.

Plastic surgery

She said she attempted to change her own appearance through plastic surgery, saying: “I had many operations which I see now was a form of self mutilation. I have the many scars to prove it.”

Recalling the time of her First Communion when she was about seven years old, Ms Doyle told the court: “There was none of the usual excitement you’d expect in a family home where such a big occasion was to happen the next day.

“My mother went off to bingo, leaving me at the mercy of my father. Almost certainly knowing what he would do to me. My father raped me that night. I remember lying in bed that night but being unable to sleep because of the pain.”

Det Garda Darragh Phelan told Monika Leech, prosecuting, that Ms Doyle described the abuse as taking place every evening and being “as frequent as having dinner”.

The abuse involved incidents of vaginal, anal and oral rape. When Ms Doyle was aged 12 she spent three days in hospital receiving treatment for anal warts. She said she would continue watching television while he raped her. She told gardaí she hated it but that she would turn herself into a zombie during each incident.

Culture of fear

Det Garda Phelan said there was a culture of fear and violence in the home and that Ms Doyle’s mother would call her a whore while beating her. Ms Doyle said she believes her mother knew about the abuse and that she was cast as “the other woman” in an “evil marriage”.

When the family decided to move to England Ms Doyle was told to stay behind with her father and he moved her into his bedroom and began abusing her “whenever it suited him”.

Ms Leech told the court that the State viewed O’Brien’s offending as being at the upper end of the scale.

The court heard that on one occasion O’Brien raped her in the woods of Foxrock golf course. When she was aged 14 he raped her in his car during a drive to Glendalough.