Man who repeatedly raped ‘vulnerable’ stepdaughter jailed for 11½ years

Complainant, who grew up in ‘chaotic’ environment, says childhood innocence was ‘ripped away’ from her by stepfather

The court heard the girl grew up in a 'chaotic environment'

A man who raped his 12-year-old stepdaughter repeatedly over a two-month period in an “egregious” violation a decade ago has been jailed for 11½ years.

The man abused the girl on four separate occasions in 2014 when she was in her bed and on one occasion when she was sleeping on the floor of her sibling’s room in the hopes of avoiding him.

She confided in her mother after the second incident, but he went on to abuse her on two more occasions, including on Christmas Eve, the Central Criminal Court heard.

He put his hand over her mouth during the abuse and on one occasion he bit her breasts and pulled her hair, leaving clumps of it on her pillow.


The now 41-year-old man was found guilty by a jury of three counts of rape, two counts of anal rape and one count of sexual assault of the girl in their family home in the southeast of the country following a Central Criminal Court trial in Waterford earlier this year.

The abuse took place in November and December 2014, when she was 12 years old and he was 31, the sentencing hearing heard on Friday.

Social services were involved with the family, and the girl, who was described as vulnerable, was taken into care. Her mother had mental health issues, the court heard.

The man continued to deny he abused the girl, and claimed she “twisted” her childhood as some sort of revenge against him, Ms Justice Karen O’Connor noted while sentencing him on Friday. Defence counsel told the court he intended to appeal.

Ms Justice O’Connor noted that the complainant in the case grew up in a “chaotic environment” and there were issues relating to neglect during her childhood. “She was a vulnerable person from a difficult background,” the judge said.

She noted the man was acting as a stepfather to the girl and was a father figure when he abused her in the “sanctuary” of her own bed in her own home. There was an element of “brutality” in the offending, the judge said. “She was violated in an egregious way,” the judge said.

She noted a victim impact statement outlined she had spent many years dealing with the aftermath of the abuse and her traumatic childhood and had gone on to make a good life for herself, “surrounded by people who love her, care for and support her”, the judge said.

The judge paid tribute to the young woman’s courage in coming forward about the abuse.

The judge noted the man continued to maintain his innocence and did not accept the verdicts of the jury. He had no previous convictions and a good work history, the court heard.

Ms Justice O’Connor set a headline sentence of 13½ years and reduced it to an 11½-year term. She backdated it to when he went into custody in March.