Dublin man who sexually abused his four-year-old niece is jailed for two years
'I will never forgive the person who stole her smile,' wrote the mother. 'She will always carry the scars'
How a child's character changed after she was sexually molested by her uncle was laid out in heart-breaking detail during a hearing at Wexford Circuit Court.
The little girl was just four years old when her babysitting relative came into her bedroom and pulled down her pants.
In a victim impact statement, the victim's mother described how her daughter, previously full of adventure, lost her smile after the incident.
The matter was due to be heard before a jury, with the accused claiming he had no recollection of what occurred in the house in the north Wexford area.
However, the 33 year old eventually pleaded guilty to sexual assault on a date in February of 2013, sparing witnesses the ordeal of giving testimony.
The accused man's father was in court to hear a summary of the case provided by the investigating garda.
On the day in question, the girl's parents went to hospital with another child who had consumed some glue remover.
While they were away, the uncle arrived in to the bedroom and asked her to perform oral sex but she refused.
He then removed her pants, leaving her naked from the waist down, and engaged in oral sex with her.
The abuse ceased after he heard someone at the front door of the house and ran downstairs.
When the matter came to light, the precise date was identified because the hospital visit was recorded.
When arrested and questioned, the perpetrator claimed he had never been in the house and that he was living elsewhere at the time.
The child is now 13 years of age and Judge James McCourt was given a victim impact statement compiled by her mother.
She was described in the statement as inquisitive, curious and knowing no boundaries 'a kind, soft soul'.
The assault in her own bedroom meant that she lost her smile, her happiness and her sense of adventure.
The world became a scary place for her, leaving her prone to panic attacks and stripped of all sense of wonder.
She had taken to scarring herself in order to make herself less attractive, while becoming angry and aggressive.
'I will never forgive the person who stole her smile,' wrote the mother. 'She will always carry the scars.'
The family had since moved out of County Wexford and both parents have suffered mental health problems as a result of what occurred.
The court learned that the young complainant first spoke about the assault as a result of the 'Stay Safe' programme in her school.
The defending barrister suggested that any jail sentence could be suspended.
His client, originally from Dublin, was now living in outside Leinster.
After a lifetime of unemployment, he had now found work as a caretaker while also assisting on a dairy farm.
Though he had a record of previous conviction, counsel pointed out that none of these was for any sexual offence.
Judge McCourt responded that he could not ignore the effect of the crime.
He imposed a three year jail sentence, the final year suspended with the condition that the defendant must attend a sex offender's programme.
The convicted man was hugged by his father before being led away by prison officers to begin his sentence.
'SERIOUS ASSAULT' | Police release CCTV of man after teen ‘seriously injured’ in attack outside Irish pub
allegations | US teen (17) accused of raping drunk girl whilst friends ‘filmed and laughed’
NO SHOW | Dublin teen accused over garda car ramming ‘refused to get out of bed’ for court
'dommy mommy' | Canadian woman facing sack over OnlyFans says teaching doesn’t pay enough
'beautiful soul' | Tributes pour in following death of model and frontline nurse Judy Fitzgerald
'still in touch' | Eamonn Holmes says ‘life’s tough’ for young man at centre of Phillip Schofield affair
Russell Crowe tribute to Ryan Tubridy
'MISCOMMUNICATION' | Kildare mum says doctor ‘forgot’ to tell her about cancer diagnosis
probation | Irish Navy veteran who bent recruit over and slapped her repeatedly on buttocks walks free
BENZ BONANZA | Karim Benzema considering mega €100m-a-year offer to move to Saudi Arabia