Man gets 15 years for assaulting parents
A CONVICTED stalker who starved, imprisoned, assaulted and humiliated his sick elderly parents for almost six months was described as a “sadistic monster” by Judge Anthony Kennedy yesterday. He was jailed for 15 years.
“In my 40 years prosecuting, defending and judging cases of every sort I thought I had seen it all – well I haven’t,” the judge told a sitting of Tullamore Circuit Court.
John Trimble (39) of Bolart, Clara, Co Offaly, admitted falsely imprisoning his parents, 70-year-old Elizabeth and 71-year-old John at the family home on dates between March 7th and March 12th, 2009.
He further admitted assaulting and endangering the couple by compelling them to take “cold showers and drip dry”, refusing food, clothing and medical attention on dates between March 1st and July 17th, 2009.
Sgt Jer Glavin was called to the house on July 17th when two HSE nurses were refused access. He gained access after 40 minutes of arguing with the defendant.
The elderly couple “were naked and they were lying on a bed. They appeared to be very much frightened and in a distressed state”, he said.
The couple, who were later found to each be malnourished were taken to hospital where they recuperated for nine days.
Mrs Trimble told gardaí her son had forced her to have a cold shower every morning.
He would refuse her a towel or clothes and leave a back door open so she could drip dry.
Mrs Trimble would then be forced to walk naked to a shed outside. “She would remain naked and he would instruct her to put on a laundry wash,” said Sgt Glavin.
When she would return she would be forced to clean the floor with wipes, again naked despite her pleas for clothes. After the cleaning was done she was often forced to have another cold shower before returning to bed.
On one occasion her son punched her in the face leaving her with a black eye. She was also forced into a scalding shower and she had to get medical attention for a burn to her neck.
She left the house only on a Friday to collect her pension and get groceries. She told Sgt Glavin she would have run away were it not for her husband who was suffering from prostate cancer.
On one occasion Mrs Trimble got new shoes. Her son informed her she couldn’t walk in certain parts of the house. When she walked in one of the areas, her son threw her shoes away. “He would blame her by saying she had brought it on herself,” Sgt Glavin stated, “she described herself as being terrified.”
John Trimble snr was also forced to take cold showers and drip dry being roused from bed at 6am. Despite having prostate cancer, he was also forced to call his doctor to tell him he didn’t want to be his patient anymore.
Trimble jnr told his father he should curl up in a ball and die, the court heard. Mr Trimble was struck by his son who stopped him from attending his sister’s funeral and grandchild’s communion. He was not allowed watch television or use a phone, Sgt Glavin said.
Both parents were refused hot drinks and survived almost solely on lemonade and biscuits. They are both diabetics and were badly malnourished and vitamin deficient when rescued.
Their youngest son Damian read a victim impact statement from his parents. They thanked the HSE and gardaí and said they live “in a constant state of fear”.
They said they had been financially independent before the abuse but were now living on welfare and hand me downs.
Although they had been looking forward to living their “twilight years” in the local community, the couple now felt “isolated” and depended on their daughter checking on them daily.
“We both feel unable to trust people as we did before and are racked by guilt for not attending my sister’s funeral,” they said adding, “we are mindful that John is still a physical threat to us.”
Sentencing the man to 15 years in prison, the judge said the case was “enough to leave anyone aghast at such evil”. Describing him as a “sadistic monster”, the judge said Trimble jnr was “nearly wallowing in self pity”, guilty of “obscenity of every kind and these weak defenceless parents with no escape”, he added.
The guilty man has one previous conviction for drink driving. He was also convicted of harassment and stalking a neighbour at Portarlington District Court in September 2000.