Father who raped special needs daughter jailed for seven years

Woman’s mother was terminally ill in hospital when Munster man (66) raped her


A father who raped his adult special needs daughter while her mother was terminally ill in hospital has been jailed for seven years.

The 66-year-old Munster man, who cannot be identified in order to protect his daughter’s identity, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the rape and sexual assault of his daughter on two dates during one week in 2016.

Mr Justice Michael White said these offences were “an egregious breach of trust” as the accused man’s daughter was a person with special needs who was incapable of living alone and he had a particular duty of care to her.

He noted another aggravating factor was the timing of the offences while her mother, with whom the woman had a special bond, was in hospital. He said the accused man had suffered sexual abuse himself and would have been aware of the pain and suffering he was inflicting on his daughter.

In mitigation he took into account the man’s guilty plea which he said was particularly important because of the special needs of his daughter. He noted the man’s remorse and the fact he was now in ill health. He said the man came from a background of childhood neglect and abuse.

Mr Justice White set a headline sentence of 11 years and taking into account the mitigating circumstances imposed an eight year sentence.

He suspended the final year on condition that the man be assessed for the Better Lives Programme and that during the suspended period he have no contact with his daughter except under the supervision and direction of The Probation Service.

Mr Justice White noted that the man’s daughter still had a bond with him and that a care order will be made by social services in relation to her and contact with her father.

He extended his best wishes to the victim and said her kindness and gentleness “comes shining through” in her victim impact statement.

“Clearly she loves her father and hates what he did to her,” said Mr Justice White.

The woman outlined in her victim impact statement that she felt sad when “Dad did what he did to me” as her mother was dying in hospital. She said he once told her he had abused her as she was “the quiet one” which made her feel sad and vulnerable. She said she had taken several overdoses.

The woman, who now lives in independent care with support services, expressed a fear of being alone and growing old by herself. “My Mum died and my Dad is not here,” she said.

The accused man wrote a letter of apology in which he said he was ashamed and truly sorry for what had happened. “Can you find it in your heart to forgive me?” he asked his daughter.