A Dublin man has received a 12 year sentence with the final two suspended for the repeated rape of his partner's then 11-year-old daughter in her Galway home.
Henry Crowe (57) of Blackditch Road, Ballyfermot pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to five sample charges of raping Majella Cahill on dates between November 23rd, 1988 and December 31rd, 1992. She was aged between 11 and 15 at the time.
Ms Cahill indicated in her victim impact report that she wished to waive her right to anonymity so that Crowe, who also has an address of Tirellan Heights, Galway city, could be named.
Mr Justice Paul Carney declared Crowe a sex offender and said he was taking into account the gross breach of trust, the victim's age and the multiplicity of offences when passing sentence.
The judge also took into account that Crowe took advantage of his victim’s dysfunctional upbringing and violated her while she was being abused by other family members.
Speaking to journalists outside the court, Ms Cahill thanked the gardaí in her case and said she was “very happy and grateful for Judge Carney’s decision”.
“I want to thank the family who did support me and I just want to go home now to my own family,” she added.
Mr Justice Carney backdated Crowe’s sentence to March 2013 and suspended the final two years taking into consideration his early guilty plea, genuine remorse and previous good character.
He ordered Crowe undergo 18 months pose release supervision and stay away from Ms Cahill on his release from prison.
At the sentence hearing last month, Ms Cahill had begun reading her victim impact statement but became overwhelmed and a garda read the remainder of it into the record. She outlined how she was neglected as a child by her mother.
She said as a three-year-old she went to live with her father’s parents before returning to live in Galway with her mother’s parents when she was seven years old.
She said her grandfather, who has since deceased, sexually abused her in that house.
When she was 11 years old Crowe started a relationship with her mother. He began to rape her on a daily basis after initially being nice to her.
Describing her “horrible and disgusting childhood” the woman’s statement said “We were left on our own, hungry and dirty. I was neglected by my mother.”
She said social services were involved with the family but her mother would “clean and feed us” when she knew they were visiting.
Ms Cahill said when she first told her mother about Crowe raping her, she called the child “a prick teaser” and said that Ms Cahill had wanted Crowe for herself.
“She always claimed I was lying. She started beating me when I told her about the abuse.”
Ms Cahill said she later became unruly and would get into trouble with the local gardaí. She said when Crowe raped her he would start by accusing her of being bold or robbing.
“He became a monster in my mind,” Ms Cahill said before she described once being raped while her mother was pregnant with Crowe’s child.
She said her mother blamed her when they broke up and he returned to live in Dublin.
Ms Cahill then described how she spent time living on the street and was suicidal. She said she later became a mother and had difficulty bathing her children and changing their nappies.
She said she suffers from depression, anxiety and panic attacks but has attended for counselling at the Rape Crisis Centre. Ms Cahill said she despises her mother and her family for making her life difficult.
“I will have to live with this for the rest of my life,” she stated in her report.
Ms Cahill first made a complaint to gardaí in November 2011 outlining the abuse she suffered at the hands of both men from the age of seven to 15 years old.
Crowe was arrested in May 2013 and interviewed twice. He did not deny any of Ms Cahill’s allegations. He has no previous convictions.
Kieran Kelly BL, defending, told the court that there were often times that there was more alcohol in Ms Cahill’s childhood home than food and it would sometimes be his client who organised something for the children to eat.
He told Mr Justice Carney that Crowe has faced up to these crimes and acknowledged his wrongdoing. He said he wants to apologise to Ms Cahill for these “appalling crimes”.