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Tipperary man jailed for seven years for sexually assaulting his daughter

Tipperary man jailed for seven years for sexually assaulting his daughter

A Tipperary man who preyed on his daughter for his own “sexual gratification” has been jailed for seven years.

The 47-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the victim's identify, raped and molested the child between 2004 and 2008 when she was aged between six and ten years old.

He pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to one count of rape, one count of oral rape and six counts of sexual assault.

Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan described the abuse as “vile and terrible acts perpetrated against an innocent child”. 

“She was defenceless and vulnerable. Her father preyed on his own innocent daughter for his own sexual gratification,” she said. 

“He beached her trust and, as stated in her victim impact statement, ‘took away her innocence as a child’. The facts of this case are most distressing.”

The victim had previously said she did not want her father to go to prison and that although she knew that what her father did was wrong, part of her missed him every day.

In a victim impact statement, the girl said the last few years had been incredibly upsetting for her and her mother.

Garda Jennifer O’Brien told John O’Kelly SC, prosecuting, that the man was in a relationship with his daughter’s mother which ended shortly after her birth. There was a casual arrangement for the girl to stay with her father occasionally and it was on these occasions that the abuse occurred.

The girl, who is now 16, told members of her family of the abuse in 2012. Her mother then contacted gardaí.

In an interview with a specially trained investigator the girl said her father raped her when she was nine years old and sexually assaulted her regularly over a four year period.

The man was arrested in January 2013 and admitted the abuse. His description of one incident of sexual assault corroborated his daughter’s account.

The girl’s mother said she felt she had failed her daughter and would never be able to understand how the man could hurt his own child. She said she was proud of her daughter for being brave.

Detective Garda John O’Gorman said that the accused became extremely emotional and began talking about how he had been physically and sexually abused himself.

He also has 15 previous convictions for drug possession, road traffic and public order offences.

It was read out in court that the man wished to say “how truly sorry he is to his daughter for the appalling offences and the hurt he has caused”.

He hoped “she could find it in herself to forgive him to some extent for what he has done” but has no expectation that this will happen.

When passing sentence today, Ms Justice Heneghan said she took into account the gravity of crimes involved, the child’s age, the exploitation of a defenceless child and the breach of trust.

She also took into account the abuser’s early guilty plea which she described as “considerable relief to the victim” as well as his experience of growing up in a “dysfunctional” background.

Ms Justice Heneghan said: “It is clear that there are many victims in this case. The complainant is a victim, the accused himself is a victim.”

She handed down a sentence of seven years on two counts of rape and five years on six counts of sexual assault to run concurrently. The sentence was backdated to 18 May 2015, when the man went into custody.