A man who subjected his own daughter to almost a decade of an “appalling catalogue of sexual, emotional and mental abuse” was handed a 16-year sentence on Monday.
Jailing the pensioner at Newry Crown Court, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, Judge Gordon Kerr QC said that even “in this jurisdiction where historical abuse of children is all too frequently before the Crown Court, this case is in the higher category of depraved behaviour.”
During his half hour sentencing remarks, he outlined how the abuse first began when the victim was five or six-years-old but that it escalated to rape from when she was just seven-years-old and continued “on a regular basis” until she was 15-years-old.
The girl was raped and abused in different areas throughout the family home, including her own bedroom, “the one place she was entitled to feel safe,” said the judge.
The abuse first came to light in March 1993 when the defendant raped his daughter before she went to school.
Tearful and emotional, she told teachers that “her father had been hurting her” and although her mother was contacted, she told social services her daughter “had admitted that she had made up the abuse”.
As a result, there were several counselling sessions with Social Services but Judge Kerr revealed that on the last day, while her mother was on her way to speak to the authorities “to assure them her daughter was safe,” her father raped her again.
The abuse continued, said the judge, with her father telling her that “nobody would believe her if she mentioned the abuse again”.
The court heard that the defendant, who appeared at court by videolink from jail, confirmed that at the time he and his wife had actively decided to bury the abuse as “the shame would have been too great”.
The victim, now in her 40’s, still suffers from regular nightmares, wakes up “screaming in her sleep”, has “feelings of hopelessness having complained as a child and the abuse continuing”, in addition to issues with trust because she put it herself, “if my own mother can’t protect me how can I trust anyone?”
Judge Kerr said although the defendant’s albeit late plea was a mitigating factor, there were numerous aggravating factors including the length of time the abuse continued, even after the initial complaint and he knew “that the behaviour was distressing her”, the “high level breach of trust between a father and child” given the power and control he had over her.
Imposing the 16-year sentence, he told the pervert pensioner if he had not admitted the offences and “publicly acknowledged the truthfulness” of his daughter’s childhood, the sentence would have been more than 20 years.
In addition, he was ordered to sign the police sex offenders register for the rest of his life and barred from working with children.
Judge Kerr said while the police and PPS had applied for a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, given the fact the defendant would be either in jail or on licence conditions until he is in his late 80’s, he was opting not to impose a SOPO due to the safeguards that would be in place.