Rapist who twice impregnated step-daughter appeals ‘severe’ sentence

Counsel for DPP says 70-year-old created atmosphere of fear so abuse could continue

A man who persistently raped his step-daughter and impregnated her twice, has appealed the severity of his 12-year jail term.

A man who persistently raped his step-daughter and impregnated her twice, has appealed the severity of his 12-year jail term.

 

A man who persistently raped his step-daughter and impregnated her twice, has appealed the severity of his 12-year jail term.

The 70-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to 18 counts of raping and sexually abusing the woman between 1974 and 1979 at their Cork home when she was aged 11-16.

The complainant, who is now 53 years old, made a statement to gardaí in 2013 informing them that the man moved into their home after her father died and eventually married her mother.

She said he would take her out of her bedroom and onto the landing to have sex with her three or four times a week. She said she dreaded Sundays when her mother went to bingo because he sexually abused her for the evening. On other occasions he raped her while her mother was downstairs.

She said the defendant never worked and was an alcoholic who drank all the money her mother brought into the house.

The Court of Appeal heard that the woman became pregnant when she was 15. She lost one child and another was put up for adoption.

When sentencing the man to 14 years with the final two suspended, Mr Justice Tony Hunt placed the offending on the highest end of the spectrum. He chose 18 years as the headline sentence, but reduced it to 14 on account of his admissions, guilty plea and remorse.

Medical issues

The final two years were suspended due to his age and medical issues. The man had already been serving a four-year sentence, handed down in February 2015, for indecently assaulting the woman’s siblings.

Moving to appeal the severity of the sentence on Monday, Orla Crowe SC, for the man, submitted that the starting point of 18 years was too high.

Ms Crowe said she was relying heavily on a case known as “RK”, in which a sentence of 18 years with the final five suspended was reduced by the Court of Appeal to 12 with the final two suspended. Mr Justice Hunt had specifically referred to that case in his sentencing remarks, stating that the present offending was “a notch above the ‘RK’ case”.

Ms Crowe said her client’s case was “on a par” with “RK” rather than being a notch above. She asked the court to consider imposing a sentence on her client along the lines of “RK”.

Imelda Kelly BL, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, said there was no evidence to suggest the man’s sentence was out of kilter with others because no comparator cases had been provided to the court other than “RK”.

Ms Kelly said the offending in “RK” spanned a 3½-year period while the offending in this case spanned five to six years.

She listed a number of aggravating factors present in this case, which were not present in “RK”. She said a 15-year-old had not been made pregnant in “RK”. There was an atmosphere in the household of complete fear, beatings and threats of violence. These allowed the offending to continue and were “mechanisms of control”. There was no evidence of any of that in “RK”.

Mr Justice George Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Alan Mahon and Mr Justice John Edwards, said the court would deliver its decision on April 27th.