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Father raped daughter while mum was at bingo

A father subjected his daughter to 10 years of rape so frequent that it became as routine as "having dinner".

Fiona Doyle (nee O'Brien) said her father Patrick O'Brien, now aged 72, raped her every night when her mother went out to play bingo.

The abuse began when O'Brien raped her on the night before she was to make her First Holy Communion, when she was seven.

Waiving her right to anonymity so that he could be named, she told the Central Criminal Court that no sentence imposed could "undo the enormous damage that my father has done to me".

She said: "It is something I have lived with since I was a young child and it's something I will have to live with until the day I die."

As a result of the abuse, she said her first marriage failed and she made two suicide attempts.

She said she also attempted to change her appearance through plastic surgery: "I had many operations which I see now was a form of self mutilation. I have the many scars to prove it."

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The court heard there was a culture of fear and violence in the home and that Ms Doyle's mother would call her a whore while beating her.

Ms Doyle said she believes her mother knew about the abuse and that she was cast as "the other woman" in an "evil marriage".

Patrick O'Brien, of Old Court Avenue, Bray, Co Wicklow, pleaded guilty to 16 charges of the rape and indecent assault of Fiona Doyle at Mackintosh Park, Pottery Road, Dun Laoghaire, from 1973 to 1982.

Detective Garda Darragh Phelan said Ms Doyle described the abuse as taking place every evening and being "as frequent as having dinner".

She said she would continue watching television and she would turn herself into a zombie during each incident.

When the family decided to move to England, Ms Doyle was told to stay behind with her father. He moved her into his bedroom and began abusing her "whenever it suited him".

O'Brien initially denied the allegations and told gardai she was making them up because "I was very hard on her because of the way she was dressing".

He later admitted abusing her at least once a week for 10 years and said it "became normal". He said he knew it was wrong but kept doing it.

Mr Justice Carney remanded O'Brien in custody for sentencing next Monday and remanded him on continuing bail until then.

Mr Justice Carney said that he was doing this "provided no hope is read into it".

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