Belfast Telegraph

No regret or shame from OAP jailed for sex abuse of daughter for 15 years

By Ashleigh McDonald

A co Antrim man who subjected his daughter to a litany of physical and sexual abuse over a 15-year period has been handed a 20-year prison sentence.

The man, who cannot be named to protect his daughter's identity, was found guilty by a jury earlier this year of 40 offences, including multiple rapes and instances of child cruelty.

The jury at Antrim Crown Court convicted the 73 year-old of both physically and sexually abusing his daughter in a campaign branded as "determined and horrifying" by Judge Paul Ramsey.

Sentencing the pensioner, Judge Ramsey told the court that despite being found guilty by a jury of the abuse, the pensioner maintained his innocence and has painted his daughter as "the unreasonable party".

Citing the case as "disturbing and unsettling", Judge Ramsey said the defendant "disregarded the responsibilities of being a father".

He added: "There has not been, nor is there likely to be, one word of regret, apology or shame from this man, to at least provide his daughter with some crumb of comfort."

The abuse spanned a period from 1969 - when the victim was aged just five - up to 1984.

The incidents started with physical abuse and progressed onto sexual abuse.

He raped his daughter for the first time when she was 11, and this continued until she left home aged around 18.

The court heard the first incidents involving sexual abuse occurred in the girl's bed, and culminated as she got older in him taking his daughter to a derelict house, where the first rape took place.

After this, the girl was abused and raped multiple times in the derelict property, as well as in his car.

He also raped his daughter when he took her for driving lessons, and on one occasion he picked her and her friends up from a disco, and after dropping her friends off first, he raped her again. The court heard he also used to taunt his daughter about getting her pregnant.

The woman, who is now 52, said her father ruled the household, that she and her siblings were frightened of him and that "if he said jump, you said 'how high'?"

During yesterday's sentencing, Judge Ramsey said a child's home was the place they should feel most secure - but in this case, the home was where she faced the "greatest danger" from her father.

The Judge also highlighted the "catastrophic affect" the abuse has had on the victim. As a result of the trial - where she had to relive her experience - she was left feeling "incredibly dirty and disgusting", the court heard.

She has also been left with chronic difficulties due to the abuse she suffered, including panic attacks, depression and low self-esteem - and believes her father "has destroyed my life".

She went to the PSNI in December 2012 to report what had happened to her. When her father was interviewed, he denied her claims - and continues to maintain what the judge described as a "deluded attitude to his offending".

Passing sentence, Judge Ramsey spoke of the pensioner's lack of victim awareness and continued denials. Saying there were no mitigating factors apart from the defendant's age, the Co Antrim man was handed a global sentence of 20 years to reflect the multiple charges and the period of time they were committed.

It is anticipated that the pensioner will serve half his sentence in prison, with the remainder on supervised licence. He was also made the subject of a 10-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order, and was placed on the Sex Offenders Register for a indefinite period.

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