‘A vile human being’: Man jailed for abusing his three sisters in the 1970s

Judge notes deep trauma in victims and that Martin Davis (67) from Clifden maintains his innocence

Three Co Galway sisters have described their older brother as “a vile human being”, “a bully” and “a monster” after he was jailed for abusing them in the 1970s.

Martin Davis (67), of Churchill, Clifden, was found guilty at the Central Criminal Court of one count of rape and eight counts of indecent assault on unknown dates between 1971 and 1981 at an address in Letterfrack.

Passing sentence on Friday, Ms Justice Melanie Greally said it was evident “that the offending by the accused has affected all three injured parties”. She noted the extreme trauma and deep pain present in their victim impact statements.

Ms Justice Greally said Davis, a married father of two, maintains his innocence and does not accept the verdict of the jury. She said she had read a sizeable number of testimonies handed into court on his behalf.


She said the aggravating factors in the case were the abuse of three siblings over a prolonged period of time and the breach of trust, which was two-fold as he betrayed his sisters and his parents when they entrusted their daughters into his care.

Ms Justice Greally said the mitigating factors were the absence of previous convictions, his family circumstances, the character references, his work record, his health issues and the fact he would be placed on the sex offenders’ register. She sentenced him to eight years in prison in total and backdated it to when he went into custody.

Speaking outside court, the complainants – Carmel Connelly, Michelle Davis and Audrey Stanley – encouraged others to “come forward and get support and not to leave it so long”.

“There is help out there,” they said, adding that the gardaí in Clifden had been “amazing”.

“We are so relieved to have the support and relief that somebody believed us.”

At a previous hearing, Det Garda Michael Griffin told Róisín Lacey SC, prosecuting, that Davis called to Clifden Garda station in April 2018 to complain about being verbally abused by his sister in a pub. He wanted the matter noted but did not wish to make a formal complaint.

Gardaí called to Ms Stanley’s home and she told them she had called Davis a “paedophile”. She told them what she said was true and made a statement. Det Garda Griffin said Ms Stanley’s two sisters also made complaints.

Ms Connelly said that when she was 10, and Davis was 15 or 16, she was brought to her bedroom by him and raped. She said she cried and told him to stop, but he did not. Their parents were away at the time.

Ms Davis described the accused as a “bully”. She said that when she was seven, she saw Davis pull up outside in a car and she ran and hid. Davis, who was then 23, saw her and dragged her to a back kitchen where he removed her underwear and raped her.

The court heard Ms Stanley was six years younger than Davis and was abused when aged nine. The abuse began with tickling games and then Davis told her to touch his penis while he touched her genital area.

Davis was arrested and interviewed in September 2018. He denied charges of rape and indecent assault. He told gardaí his sisters were motivated by spite as they had been excluded from their mother’s will.

Det Garda Griffin agreed with Philip Rahn SC, defending, that Davis was a juvenile for the majority of the offending.

In her victim impact statement, Ms Connelly said she was “very happy and innocent” before the abuse and then felt “shame and fear, feeling I was to blame and unable to tell anyone”. She said she was “abused by a monster” and that Davis was “a vile human being” who has offered no apology or remorse.

Ms Stanley said she found writing her statement “traumatising” and she “called on mum and dad to help”.

“How I wish I had done that when I was a little girl broken by Martin,” she added. “The only person I protected was him with my silence.”

In her statement, Ms Davis said she had “suffered unbelievable emotional and psychological pain and struggled with depression and anxiety” as a result of the abuse. She said Davis “got away with the crimes for long enough” and while he would continue to impact her life, “I won’t allow him to torment me”.