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Predator who repeatedly raped partner’s schoolgirl sister fails in attempt to have 11-year jail term cut

John Giltrap

Peter Doyle

A predator who repeatedly raped his partner’s young sister when she was a schoolgirl has failed in his bid to have his 11-year jail term reduced.

John Giltrap (61), of Termonbarry, Hospital Hill, Bunclody, Co Wexford, had pleaded not guilty to 22 counts of raping Caroline Kavanagh at various locations in Bunclody between December 1978 and March 1982.

But a jury at the Central Criminal Court in Kilkenny found him guilty on 20 of the charges and in December 2020 he was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment on each count by Mr Justice Michael McGrath.

Ms Kavanagh, who has waived her right to anonymity, was aged between 10 and 15 when the offences took place.

An appeal against the conviction was dismissed by the Court of Appeal in January. Today, the same court rejected his plea to have his jail time reduced.

Dismissing the appeal, Mr Justice John Edwards, presiding, said the court was satisfied there had been “no error in principle in this case”.

“The sentencing judge in the first instance gave a most considered and detailed judgment, which had been generous in terms of mitigation afforded,” added Mr Justice Edwards, sitting with Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy.

Earlier, Barra McGrory SC, for Giltrap, told the court his client was aged between 18 and 23 when the offences were committed. The relationship he had been in at the time had long since “dissolved” and he was now married with children.

Giltrap, counsel continued, had worked all his life, had “rarely been idle”, and his children were “loyal to him”.

His client’s health was now poor, Mr McGrory added, and he suffered from very high blood pressure and was receiving counselling in prison.

Fiona Murphy SC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, told the court that the sentencing judge had discounted Giltrap’s sentence by four years and this represented a significant reduction given that the appellant had failed to acknowledge his guilt.

In January, the same court said it “had no hesitation in rejecting” Giltrap’s appeal against conviction.

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