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Depraved Man 'obsessed' with sleeping fetish jailed for using daughter for his own sexual gratification

I was terrified to sleep for years which resulted in me falling asleep in school and during classes”

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Ennis Circuit Court

Ennis Circuit Court

Ennis Circuit Court

A judge has jailed for one year a 48-year old man “with an almost obsessive interest in sleeping porn”.

At Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Eoin Garavan imposed a two and a half year prison term with the last 18 months suspended on the County Clare man.

Judge Garavan said that the accused had used his "defenceless daughter" aged 15 at the time “for his own sex gratification and sexual satisfaction”.

Judge Garavan described the accused’s “almost obsessive interest in sleeping porn” as a “fetish”.

Judge Garavan said that there was no physical contact between father and daughter during what he called “acts of sexual depravity” by the man.

In evidence, Gardai Deirdre McLoughlin said that the complainant - now aged 23 - said her father carried out solo sex acts in front of her “on countless occasions”.

The girl said that when she stayed in her father's house when she was a teenager, he would stand at the end of her bed or at the door of her bedroom and carry out his solo sex act.

The complainant told Garda her father would always come into the room between the hours of 2am and 4am when she was in her bed.

The court heard the girl bought a lock to secure her bedroom door but returned one night to find her father had broken the lock.

Garda McLoughlin said that the complainant couldn’t sleep at night.

Judge Garavan said that the bedroom was the girl’s safe place and the accused had violated her privacy and youth.

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The girl’s parents are separated and the girl used to spend a week at a time with each parent and Judge Garavan said that the week with her father “must have been a terrifying experience”.

Garda McLoughlin also outlined two occasions where the accused carried out solo sex acts in his car while driving his teenage daughter to and from work.

Garda McLoughlin said that during one incident, his daughter started to cry and turned on the radio and looked out the window so she couldn’t see or hear anything.

Garda McLoughlin said that the complainant felt ‘trapped’ in the car.

Garda McLoughlin said that the accused - who has no previous convictions - stopped after his daughter told him in another car trip that he was disgusting and never to talk to her again.

Judge Garavan stated that in a sense the accused had ‘trapped” his daughter in the car during his offending.

He said: “She couldn’t escape.”

The complainant wasn’t in court for the sentencing hearing but in a victim impact statement read out on her behalf she said: “I was terrified to sleep for years which resulted in me falling asleep in school and during classes.”

She said: “I feel like I have lost out on so many things because I lost my Dad, like if I ever get married, who will walk me down the aisle or give me away? Or the milestones in my life that he has missed out on.”

“It also made me feel so guilty for making my life’s Dad so much worse. It upsets me a lot to think about that but I think if he cared about me at all he wouldn’t of course have put me through this.”

She stated that “I’m mad at him for making me feel guilty. I hope he gets all the help he needs.”

The accused pleaded guilty to one count of child cruelty contrary to the Children's Act and one count of engaging in offensive conduct of a sexual nature, contrary to the Criminal  Law (Sexual Offences Act) 2017

The child cruelty offence spanned a period between September 1st, 2014 and February 18th, 2017.

The count of sexually offensive conduct relates to an incident in his car on April 28, 2017.

Judge Garavan stated that a custodial sentence is warranted due to the protracted nature of the child cruelty offence.

The judge said that the accused “knew it was wrong and he persisted in it”.

Judge Garavan said that the accused will be shunned by some in his local community and seen by others as a pariah.

The judge stated that there has been a huge breach of trust and damage perpetrated on the woman.

Judge Garavan stated that the complainant in the case “is to be praised for her bravery and courage”.

The judge pointed out that the accused has pleaded guilty and has taken steps to rehabilitate himself.

Judge Garavan stated that “the biggest punishment for the accused is that he has damaged his daughter for her life and that is difficult for him and for her”.

Judge Garavan ordered that the offender's name not be published to protect the identity of the complainant.

Counsel for the accused, Pat Whyms BL (instructed by solicitor, Daragh Hassett) told the court that a Probation Report on his client shows that he is genuinely ashamed of his actions, is remorseful and the risk of re-offending is not high.

Mr Whyms said that his client has taken positive steps to address his offending. He said: “He has made great strides starting from a bad place."

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