Mayo man raped and sexually assaulted his neighbour's son

Mayo man raped and sexually assaulted his neighbour's son

A Mayo man who raped and sexually assaulted his neighbour's son has been remanded in custody until October for sentencing.

John Gannon was convicted in January 1995 of indecently assaulting two young girls and served four years in prison. In 2010 this victim revealed that he was abused by Gannon between the ages of four and eight.

Gannon (71) of Aughagower, County Mayo pleaded not guilty to one count of indecent assault, seven counts of sexual assault, four counts of oral rape, one count of anal rape and one count of attempted anal rape at his home and locations near his home on dates between 1990 and 1994.

He was found guilty following a four-day trial at the Central Criminal Court.

The victim, who is now 28, and who waived his right to anonymity so Gannon could be identified, returned from abroad to give evidence. In a victim impact statement he said that he lost his childhood “in the cruelest way” when the abuse began.

The man told Bernard Condon SC, prosecuting, that one of his sisters has cerebral palsy and abuse often occurred when her parents brought her away for treatment, leaving the other children with the Gannon family.

Gannon would visit the bedroom where the children slept as they were falling asleep to touch the boy's penis and anus and masturbate himself.

On one occasion Gannon took the boy from the front garden, where he was playing on a JCB into the bathroom of his house where he anally raped him.

Gannon also abused the victim in a shed used by local children to shelter when waiting for a school bus. The victim testified that he was anally and orally raped there on multiple occasions. On one occasion he recalls a passing car preventing Gannon from carrying out an attack.

When asked on how many occasions the abuse took place in the shed, the man said “I can say right now it happened five times, six times but it probably happened hundreds of times. It was so long ago.”

In a victim impact statement read to the court by Garda Paul Lafferty, the man said he had a good childhood until he was four years old when the abuse began and he lost his innocence “in the cruelest way.”

He said that Gannon was his father's best friend, and he looked on him as a father figure until the abuse began. He said he remembered “a summer day when I was playing on a digger outside John Gannon's house” when Gannon took him to the bathroom and raped him.

“I cried out when he raped me. I always remember the pain, the fear and my backside being swollen afterwards,” he said. He remembered thinking that abuse must be normal and happen to everyone because it happened so often to him.

He said the abuse had caused him to have behavioural problems and that he had attempted to commit suicide. He said he had emigrated to Australia to get away from the area the abuse took place.

He thanked his family and the gardaí for their support. Mr Condon said the victim wished to waive his right to anonymity so Gannon can be identified.

Diarmaid McGuinness SC, defending, asked Mr Justice Tony Hunt when sentencing to consider the period of time elapsed since the crimes were committed and the fact that Gannon would have been released by now if a complaint had been made earlier.

Mr Justice Hunt remanded Gannon in custody until October 9 2015 for sentencing.