Man given 15-year sentence for raping and beating step daughter

Accused (32), once jailed in native country for killing a woman, maintains his innocence

A man has been given a 15-year sentence at the Central Criminal Court for continually beating and twice raping his 12-year-old step daughter. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

A man has been given a 15-year sentence at the Central Criminal Court for continually beating and twice raping his 12-year-old step daughter. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

 

A man has been given a 15-year sentence for continually beating and twice raping his 12-year-old step daughter.

The 32- year-old, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to a number of charges of child cruelty which involved assault, assault causing harm, sexual assault and rape on dates between September 2019 and May 2020.

A jury convicted him last July on one charge of assault causing harm, six charges of child cruelty involving assault, three charges of sexual assault and two charges of rape. The man has been on remand in custody since June 2020.

Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy noted the effect that the offending had on the previously happy child. She said that despite being in a foster family where she is loved and happy, the child still has immense fear of her step father finding her. The court heard the man had told the girl he would find and kill her if he went to jail.

The judge noted the man’s history of violent offending, he previously strangled an ex-girlfriend to death in his native country. She said he had not abided by the conditions of his early release from a 10-year sentence in his native country, which required him to remain there until 2022. Rather than observing this he instead was in Ireland “laying waste” to the young girl’s life, she said.

Ms Justice Murphy noted there had been little offered in mitigation and that he maintains his innocence. She took into account that as a non-Irish citizen time in custody would be harder for him.

Uncontrollable anger

She said the man had grown up in institutional care, which the court could conclude had a damaging effect and that uncontrollable anger appeared to be a feature of his offending.

She said he was a “dangerous young man” who was physically powerful and it was in his and society’s interest that he addressed his anger issues.

Ms Justice Murphy imposed a 15-year sentence and said she would consider suspending the final two years if he availed of anger management treatment while in prison and refrained from contacting the victim in perpetuity.

Geraldine Small BL, prosecuting, asked that that a condition that he leave the jurisdiction on release be added.

Ms Justice Murphy said she was not inclined to dump offenders on another jurisdiction but would consider post release supervision and asked if there would be contact between the jurisdictions so they would be notified if he returned home. She adjourned the matter of the suspension and its conditions for three weeks to allow the man’s legal team to speak to him and see what treatment was available in prison.

After leaving prison, the man came to Co Cork in 2019, met the child’s mother and married her two months later. The child had not met the man, as she was away with her father at the time, and was introduced to him at the end of summer 2019 when he had moved into the family home she shared with her mother.

Det Garda Sheena Dowling, of the Divisional Protective Services Unit in Cork, told Lorcan Staines SC, prosecuting, that gardaí­ were called to the family home in May of last year after a neighbour alerted them to a domestic incident there.

Fell down stairs

On arrival, officers noticed that the child had a cut and bruising to the bridge of her nose and had bruised eyes. Her mother, the accused and the child all claimed that she had sustained the injuries when she fell down the stairs.

Gardaí­ returned to the house that evening to check on the welfare of the child and one officer spoke to her alone in the kitchen. The teenager reiterated that she had hurt herself in a fall , but later rolled up the sleeve of a jumper to reveal a large bruise to her arm.

She admitted the accused had hurt her and showed the garda further bruising. The girl was taken from the home that evening and put in emergency care. She has not returned since and is now living with an adoptive family.

Det Garda Dowling told Mr Staines that the child was taken to a garda station and questioned by specialist interviewers. She initially only spoke of a number of incidents of being beaten by the man but later passed a note to say that she had been sexually abused.

She was interviewed a second time during which she disclosed three episodes of sexual assault and two incidents of rape by the accused in April of last year.

In her victim impact statement, the girl thanked the gardaí and all those who had helped her.

“My parents didn’t protect me like they should have,” she said.