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Former couple found to have abused daughter over five-year period

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A previously-married Co Monaghan couple who are resident in Northern Ireland have been found to have systematically sexually abused their daughter over a five-year period from the age of three

A previously-married Co Monaghan couple who are resident in Northern Ireland have been found to have systematically sexually abused their daughter over a five-year period from the age of three

A previously-married Co Monaghan couple who are resident in Northern Ireland have been found to have systematically sexually abused their daughter over a five-year period from the age of three

A previously-married Co Monaghan couple who are resident in Northern Ireland have been found to have systematically sexually abused their daughter over a five-year period from the age of three.

The mother (59), with an address in Co Down, and father (65), from Co Armagh, were found unfit for trial at Newry Crown Court due to "mental incapacity".

A jury of five women and seven men heard the evidence to determine the facts of the case.

Yesterday, the third day of the case, they returned with a unanimous verdict for the male and a majority verdict of 11 to one for the female that they 'did do the act' on 10 specimen counts of indecent assault.

The husband and wife, who are now separated, cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim.

The co-accused will face one of three outcomes following a psychiatric report and assistance from the health trust ­- for a hospital restricted or non-restricted order, a psychiatric order, or they will be discharged.

During the two days of evidence, the male, sitting away from his wife in the gallery, left the court several times, including as his daughter was being cross-examined, and only reappeared in the courthouse on the second day of the trial as the defence summed up the case for his wife.

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Defence for the father opted not to give evidence.

In a bizarre denial during a PSNI interview in March 2012, the father claimed he was a former member of the SAS and had a PHD from Cambridge University in engineering. He further claimed to have had two barrister sisters in London progressing an EU court case to have his daughter returned to him. All were proven to be false.

The parents of four, now separated, have been married for over 30 years.

Although they did not have to sit in the dock, they denied all 10 specimen charges of indecent assault against a female child from April 2000 to April 2005.

Originally from Co Monaghan the couple evaded an ongoing Garda investigation by moving to Northern Ireland following the daughter's allegations as an eight-year-old child to her primary school teacher.

The injured party was a neglected girl, riddled with lice and with an unwashed appearance. She told her teacher in 2005 that she had nightmares every night, when a man would enter her bedroom and touch her. She stated that she was in pain "inside" and "wanted it all to stop".

In evidence by the now 21-year-old woman over videolink to the court this week, she also stated that as a young schoolgirl her uniform and underwear would not be changed for weeks at a time.

After making the initial allegations, the girl was immediately taken into care and fostered to a family in Co Cavan, where her older sister had also been taken into care.

A prosecution barrister described "repulsive" sexual acts carried out by the parents on an almost nightly occurrence.

A defence barrister for the mother cross-examined the victim, suggesting that her memory had not been reliable.

"Over a number of years your memory has been steered unconsciously towards a way to identify your parents and may be that's not right," he suggested.

"It has been compromised over the years," the barrister added. The injured party rejected the suggestion, as did the jury.

Judge Gordon Kerr adjourned the court until May when the former husband and wife will be made aware of which order they will face, or if they will be free to go.


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