Belfast Telegraph

Co Down pensioner jailed for catalogue of sexual abuse on his children

Man carried out a 'prolonged catalogue of sexual, physical and mental abuse' of his children

By Paul Higgins

A dangerous paedophile pensioner who was convicted of sexually and physically abusing his own children has been jailed for six years.

As he was lead away from the dock at Downpatrick Crown Court the 82-year-old, who cannot be identified to protect his eight victims, lamented: "I cannot accept that - honest to God almighty, that's terrible."

In total the Co Down man pleaded guilty to 13 offences of gross indecency, indecent assault and child cruelty relating to what Judge Piers Grant described as a "prolonged catalogue of abuse, sexual, physical and mental abuse of your children".

He told the pensioner, who sat in the dock leaning on a walking stick listening through a specialist hearing device, that he had caused them "considerable and significant harm" by his actions and that as he had been deemed to be a danger to other potential victims, he was ordering that he serve an extra two years on supervised licence.

Imposing the six year sentence, Judge Grant said had it not been for his "comparatively poor health," the defendant would have been jailed for nine years and three months.

In addition to the jail term, the 82-year-old will have to sign the police offenders' register for the rest of his life and will also be subject to a lifelong Sexual Offences Prevention Order which among its conditions, bars him from having unsupervised contact with kids and working with children.

Previous courts have heard how the Co Down pensioner's behaviour came to light in February 2013 when during a shopping trip, he offered one of his daughters a bottle of vodka if she would have sex with him, complaining that he had been abstinent for five years.

A prosecuting lawyer described how the lady protested and reminded him that he was her father but although he initially maintained that a "court" between father and daughter was in the Bible, he begged her not to be cross with him and eventually sent her a solicitor's letter ordering her not to disclose what happened.

It was when the woman talked about what happened with her siblings, the others disclosed their experiences at their father's hands in the 60s and 70s.

The lawyer recounted how one of the sisters, when she was between nine and 11 years old, was plied with vodka before her father sexually abused her, forcing her to undergo rituals of "intimate washing" while another sister remembered being beaten unconscious for dancing and that their father would strategically place mirrors in the bathroom to spy on his daughters.

During their puberty, they reported how the defendant would make lurid comments that they were "developing nicely" and that they were subjected to him "kissing and groping" them.

Their brother was subjected to severe beatings and the prosecutor said his siblings, who witnessed many of them, were left particularly traumatised that at no stage during them did their brother shed a tear.

Emphasising the scale of abuse, a prosecutor told the court the defendant’s “sexual perversions had not waned” over the years as was evident by the most recent 2013 incident when he kissed a female child in a sexualised manner.

It was that most recent offence, Judge Grant said today, on which his finding of dangerousness was founded.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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