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Sick uncle who sexually abused nieces exposed as prolific paedo after getting 10-year prison sentence

Child abuser Gerard Towers is jailed for 10 years but his victims say they are still suffering the effects of his vile crimes

Janice, Rachel and Annmarie Hunt© Gary Ashe

Gerard Towers was sent down for 10 years

Annmarie, Janice and Rachel talk to the Sunday World

Grandfather Eddie Towers

Eamon DillonSunday World

A man who sexually abused three of his nieces throughout their childhoods has finally been exposed as a prolific paedophile predator after getting a 10-year prison sentence.

The three sisters who helped put Gerard Towers behind bars say they have got justice but urged other victims of sex-offenders to come forward.

Rachel, Janice and Annmarie Hunt told of the devastating effect of the relentless attacks by Towers and their now deceased grandfather Eddie Towers at the Towers’ homes at Sean O’Casey Ave and at St Laurence Mansion, both in Dublin 1.

Each of them were abused from the night before their first Communion into their early teens but never knew they had all gone through the same horrific experience until Rachel spoke out four years ago.

Last month, Gerard Towers, got 10 years at the Central Criminal Court after pleading to 262 charges, including rape and indecent assault in the 1980s and 90s.

Gerard Towers was sent down for 10 years

His father, Eddie, was also named in court as an abuser of the three sisters but died in the mid-1990s, escaping prosecution.

The Hunt sisters praised the investigating officers from Store Street for how they handled the case, and One in Four for providing vital support.

Annmarie Hunt said in her victim impact statement that as child she didn’t know any better “so it became as normal for me as it was to go to school.”

“I do not know how someone could get away with that for so long. I do not know how a fully- grown adult could ever think that this was okay.”

“I will never know the person I could have become were I not the victim of childhood abuse at the hands of a family member. I have been trapped in my own mind for years now. It’s almost like a prison cell with no escape.”

In school, she was disruptive and acted out and was eventually expelled at the age of 14 but luckily discovered she had a talent for dressmaking, which she has successfully pursued.

But effects of the abuse have been long-term, suffering from anxiety and claustrophobia, nightmares and flashbacks.

“I have always taken panic attacks. There were many times when they have taken over my life and have stopped me doing a lot of stuff. I had to call ambulances for myself as it felt like I was dying.”

Annmarie said that after giving her statement to the Gardaí she has experienced the “toughest three years of her life.”

“It’s more real now because I am a mother with my own kids. It can no longer be suppressed. I have to sit with the realisation of everything. I have to go over things that happened to me as a child again.”

Rachel told the court in her impact statement of how the abuse changed the course of her life and even put her life at a risk through ill-health.

Recalling her childhood terror, she said she “became someone who hid a dark secret away that was never mine to carry”.

Annmarie, Janice and Rachel talk to the Sunday World

“As a child, I feared the nights my mother went to bingo and my father would go to the pub. My blood would feel like it was draining from my head.”

“I’d try to hide but there was nowhere he wouldn’t find me. Unawares to my parents, he was back in the house, and he’d be gone by the time they came back.”

The emotional manipulation by Gerard Towers left her unable to tell anyone what was happening.

“I felt I was to blame for taking the money and sweets from him, and I thought because of this nobody would believe me, and I carried this belief into adulthood.”

In her teenage years she suffered from anorexia as a result of the abuse and yet was still unable to tell even her best friend about it.

She wasn’t able to tell her husband for 27 years because of the “guilt and shame” and her health had suffered as a result of confronting and reliving the abuse.

“I feel the sickness is the price I am paying for what happened to me, not being able to tell anyone for all these years.”

Janice’s impact statement also captured the torment she endured when she should have been enjoying a care-free childhood.

“I always felt scared, filthy and dirty. If there were other people there, he would be touchy-feely, and he would give me money and sweets. It felt like every time he was there, or in the vicinity, the abuse would happen.

“Avoiding him was a constant battle. I have vivid memories of being abused in the house I grew up in. It was part of my everyday life.

“I also remember it happening in my grandparent’s house. As much as I wanted to run away, I could not. I had so much fear in me.”

​ Like her sisters Janice suffers from medical problems which she puts down to the stress of re-living the abuse after making her statement to Gardaí about what had happened to her.

Grandfather Eddie Towers

“I cannot escape the thoughts. I might enjoy TV or a film for an hour, but I cannot fully escape it. I have been broken down.

“I have also had cosmetic surgery. I had my stomach and breasts done. I wanted to remove the parts of me that he had touched. I wanted to cut him away from my body.”

“I have always regretted it. I thought changing my body would change what happened to me, but it did not work.”

​ At Towers’ sentence hearing Ms Justice Karen O’Connor described Tower’s actions as a “significant breach of trust” and that he “took advantage of three young girls”.

​ Towers initially denied any wrongdoing, but later made a full admission, pleaded guilty and has no “significant” previous convictions.

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