Donegal father jailed for 11 years for repeated rape of daughter

Maurice Lafferty regularly attacked Annie Lafferty when his wife was away from home


A Donegal father-of-six who repeatedly and regularly raped his teenage daughter has been jailed for 11 years.

Maurice Lafferty (50) of Corcullen, Castlefin, Donegal, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to raping his daughter Annie Lafferty at his home on dates between November 1st, 2010 and June 30th, 2011.

Speaking outside the court after her father was jailed, Ms Lafferty said she is relieved and overwhelmed at having “finally got justice”.

During the trial, Garda Sergeant John Dorian told Paul Carroll SC, prosecuting, that the accused’s wife worked in Letterkenny and lived away from the home four nights a week during the period of offending.

Gda Sgt Dorian said that on a night in November, 2010, Lafferty came into his then 17-year-old daughter’s bedroom. “You’re my good little girl, you’re the only one I can trust,” Lafferty said to her.

Annie Lafferty (25), speaking to media outside court after the sentence hearing for her father Maurice Lafferty. Photograph: Collins Courts.
Annie Lafferty (25), speaking to media outside court after the sentence hearing for her father Maurice Lafferty. Photograph: Collins Courts.

He started to grope her and said he wanted to “show how much I love you”.

His daughter tried to push him away and he called her “a tramp” before pinning her on the bed and raping her.

Afterwards he told her not to tell anyone about what he had done. Lafferty said that no one would believe her and that her younger siblings would be taken away if she said anything.

Sgt Dorian said that Lafferty continued to rape his daughter once per week when her mother was out. Ms Lafferty, now aged 25, told the court she wished to waive her right to anonymity.

Mr Justice Alex Owens said that Lafferty was a violent and controlling man and said his attacks on the girl were coercive and depraved.

He said that, in his opinion, an apology offered by Lafferty to the victim, was not genuine. A Probation Services reported indicated that he blamed his intoxication at the time and even laid some blame on his daughter.

Justice Owens noted Lafferty was assessed at being at a moderate risk of re-offending. He imposed a sentence of 11 years and ordered that he stay away from any activity with children after his release from custody.

In her victim impact statement, the victim said her parents were more interested in drinking than being parents and she took over caring for her younger siblings.

Ms Lafferty said “to say I was scared is an understatement” during the period she was abused by her father.

“Instead of protecting me, he was the one who did me harm,” she said.

She said she told her mother about the abuse, only for her mother to turn her back on her and believe her father’s version of events.“My cry for help was ignored”, said Ms Lafferty.

She said he was the one who decided what she did and “it was like I was a puppet attached to strings”.

She said the “scars that man left on me will always be there”.

Anne Rowland SC, defending, said her client was “drinking extremely heavily” at the time of the offences.

She said he suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which caused him to “black out” during fits of extreme coughing.

Ms Rowland said that Lafferty built his house himself and it was about to be repossessed.

Speaking outside the Central Criminal Court on Monday, Ms Lafferty said she was relieved and overwhelmed by the outcome of her father’s trial.

“I’m just so glad it’s over with; finally we can move on now with our life,” she said.

“That was absolutely horrendous. I went in there today thinking that with him pleading guilty today he was going to get an easier sentence, thinking that my word wasn’t going to matter,” she said.

“But thank God he [THE JUDGE]did. He listed all the incidents equally and I am very relieved that at least now my voice has been heard and I finally got my justice.”