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Man jailed in the early 1970s for indecently assaulting young girl to be sentenced for raping his niece a decade later

The man will be sentenced next week for raping his seven-year-old niece a decade later. FILE PHOTO
The man will be sentenced next week for raping his seven-year-old niece a decade later. FILE PHOTO

A man who was jailed in the early 1970s for indecently assaulting a young girl will be sentenced next week for raping his seven-year-old niece a decade later.

The 61-year-old Limerick man, who cannot be named to protect the anonymity of the victim, raped and sexually assaulted the child when she was aged between seven and eleven.

After a trial last month a jury at the Central Criminal Court convicted him of one count of attempted rape, three counts of rape and three counts of indecent assault at a house in County Limerick between December 1984 and December 1988.

Mr Justice Paul Carney remanded him in continuing custody for sentencing next Monday.

In a victim impact report, read into the court in her presence, the woman said her uncle had stolen her childhood from her. She said: “His sick twisted mind stole my innocence forever, my childhood, my teenage years, my dignity, my trust in relationships”.

The court heard that in 1973 the man was jailed here for six months for an indecent assault of a similar nature. In 1974 he was convicted in the UK for the indecent assault of a girl aged under 14 years of age.

He returned to Ireland from the UK with his wife and they had a number of children.

In 1995 and 1998 he was convicted for indecent assaults committed after the abuse of his niece. Additionally he was jailed for 22 months in March 2013 for breaches of orders under the Sex Offenders Act by living in houses with children in 2007 and 2009.

The man first raped his niece sometime in 1984 after placing her on a washing machine in a utility room in his home. Other rapes took places in the living room while there was another baby in the house and in an outdoor shed.

He molested her while she was in a bath with other children in the same bathtub.

In one incident the child was asleep in her aunt’s bed with her aunt and other children in the room. Her uncle came home and get into the bed and molested her. He blocked her mouth with his hand and he tried to force himself on her.

He only stopped when his wife woke up and told him to stop.

The victim said she suffers flashbacks, stress and anxiety as a result of the abuse.

“I feel so cold and lost. I cry for the pain and hurt he caused. I have tears locked inside that could probably fill an ocean.”

She said that hearing the jury return a verdict of guilty was "like a tonne of bricks lifted from my heart”.

Declan Brennan