Woman and her three sons jailed over sexual abuse of child relatives

Court hears men were from family ruled by a ‘deviant father figure’ who is yet to be sentenced

Three brothers from a family ruled by a “deviant father figure” who sexually abused their three child relatives have been jailed for terms ranging from 11 to 16-and-a-half years.

The men’s 64-year-old mother was jailed for two years on Monday for assisting one of her sons after he raped her granddaughter and for one count of assaulting the same child.

The 66-year-old patriarch of the family and his three sons, aged 39, 40 and 41, were convicted of a total of 115 counts of sexually abusing four family members, who were all children at the time, following a Central Criminal Court trial last May.

The 66-year-old man was also due to be sentenced on Monday, but the court heard he is currently in hospital and his case was adjourned to next week.


This man is already serving a 16-year sentence for sexually abusing his daughter who became pregnant with his child when she was just 17. This baby was brought up by him and his wife as their own.

None of the five accept the verdicts of the jury and all continue to maintain their innocence, the court heard.

The three-week trial heard that the alleged offences occurred between 1999 and 2005 in various locations around the country. All of the parties are members of an extended Traveller family.

The four complainants are the oldest couple’s daughter, their granddaughter and their two nephews, whom the couple fostered for a period of time.

In a judgment which took over an hour to hand down, Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring said the family was “ruled by a deviant father figure who abused and mistreated his wife and children, his grandchild and extended relatives. He was the father, not the grandfather, of his daughter’s child”.

Rights breached

The children in this case “had their rights to be safe, to be fed, to be educated, to be protected breached over and over and over again”, she said.

She said the case “raises serious questions as to how these children were left in the so-called care” of the man and his wife, where they were sexually abused and raped.

“They lived a very basic and difficult life over the years,” the judge said. “Home was often the side of the road.”

She noted the children were often hungry and relied on the kindness of strangers. They had no access to consistent education and suffered “significant mistreatment and abuse”.

She said the patriarch of the family perpetrated violent and sexual abuse on his wife and child relatives. “He relentlessly preyed on family members with violence and deviance,” she said. “Chillingly, his sons learned to abuse and rape from their father.”

Sentencing the three brothers, the judge noted they had displayed no remorse for their actions or empathy for their victims. She said the example set by their father could not be ignored.

Sentencing the 41-year-old man, she noted he had two victims – his sister and his niece. This man was found guilty of 19 counts of raping his sister, four counts of sexually assaulting her and three counts of orally raping her. He was also found guilty of two charges of anally raping his niece and one count of raping her.

She jailed him for 15 years, backdated to when he first went into custody last month.

Sentencing the 39-year-old man, the judge noted he had abused his sister, his niece and his male cousin – who was his de facto brother. This man was found guilty of 20 counts of raping his sister, four counts of sexually assaulting her and six counts of oral rape. He was also found guilty to two counts of anally raping his niece and two counts of anally raping his male cousin. He was jailed for 16 and a half years.

The judge sentenced the 40-year-old man, who repeatedly abused his sister, to 11 years’ imprisonment. He was found guilty of 20 counts of rape, five counts of sexual assault and three counts of oral rape.

‘Living in hell’

Sentencing the matriarch of the family, the judge noted she was herself a victim of sexual and physical abuse at the hands of her husband. She noted she has not shown any empathy for any of the victims in the case. She handed down a sentence of four years, and suspended the final two years on a number of conditions.

The 66-year-old man was found guilty of 24 charges including two charges of anally raping his granddaughter and 22 charges against his nephew - 12 charges of anal rape and 10 charges of oral rape. His case was adjourned for a week to get an update on his health condition.

Shane Costelloe SC, prosecuting, previously told the court that the three brothers each started regularly sexually abusing and raping their sister at around the same time her father did.

The court heard the 66-year-old man has 185 previous convictions, including 99 for the sexual abuse of two of his daughters. The remainder are for road traffic offences, larceny, burglary and public order offences.

The 41-year-old man has 178 previous convictions, almost all for road traffic offences, including 13 convictions for hit and run incidents. He is also in custody.

The 40-year-old man has 145 previous convictions, mostly road traffic offences, while the 39-year-old man has 24 similar convictions. The 64-year-old woman has no previous convictions. These three have been on bail throughout the case.