Man jailed for five years for ‘vile’ sexual abuse of young child


A 43-year-old man who subjected a six-year-old girl to sexual abuse of the most “vile nature” has been jailed for five years.

Owen O’Brien, an accountant of Eden Terrace, North Circular Road, Limerick, abused the child up to three times a week for five years, Limerick Circuit Court heard yesterday.

Jailing O’Brien, Judge Tom O’Donnell said the offences involved the “cold, cunning, systematic, premeditated, grooming and exploitation” of a child for the 43-year-old’s own sexual gratification.

Commending the victim for her bravery in making a complaint, Judge O’Donnell said the consequences of O’Brien’s deviant behaviour had an enormous psychological impact on the girl, who is now aged 18 and due to sit her Leaving Cert next month.

“He stole the innocence of youth of this child, something she will never get to experience again,” Judge O’Donnell said.

The court heard graphic evidence of O’Brien’s deviant behaviour on the girl until she was 12.

He pleaded guilty to six counts of sexual assault on dates between January 1st, 2002, and March 31st, 2007, at addresses in Limerick city.

The court heard the abuse ended after she demanded he stop when she was 12, but the nature of her ordeal came to light only when she was 17. She was in court yesterday accompanied by a large number of family and friends who wept afterwards.