Belfast Telegraph

Teenage sexual abuse victim of ex-Irish Times journalist 'was left suicidal'

The teenage victim of former Irish Times sports journalist Tom Humphries has been left "suicidal and depressed" by the sexual abuse, a court has heard.

Humphries was remanded in custody on Tuesday to await sentencing for grooming and engaging in sexual acts with a child.

The 54-year-old sat with his hands over his face at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court as the prosecution read from a victim impact statement in which the injured party described how the abuse had "for years ruined my life".

"I was left physically, emotionally and mentally ill. I have been suicidal because of what happened. I suffer with depression.

"I have self-doubt, a lack of confidence and hatred towards myself", the statement added.

The court heard that Humphries exchanged thousands of text messages with the young girl as part of a grooming process.

The girl, whom he knew through sporting circles, was 14 when he first contacted her in December 2008.

Many of the messages became sexually explicit and contained graphic images, prosecutor Shane Costelloe told the court.

A snapshot of analysed messages showed that more than 16,000 texts were exchanged over a three-month period.

When the girl was 16 Humphries took her to his Dublin apartment where they engaged in sexual activity.

Gardai became involved when the text messages were found on Humphries' phone by his daughter in March 2011, the prosecution said.

She told her mother - his estranged wife - who confronted him and then contacted police.

Humphries, 54, from Sutton, north Dublin, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to six counts of abuse of a girl under the age of 17.

The charges comprise of two counts of defilement of a child in Dublin between December 5 2010 and February 19 2011, and four counts of inviting a child to participate in a sexually explicit, obscene or indecent act between January 2010 and March 2011.

Defence lawyer Hugh Hartnett told the court Humphries is suicidal and "seriously depressed."

"He is a significant suicide risk. He has lost his job, a position he loved and has been reviled in the Press.

"He has expressed remorse which has furthered his depression but he doesn't want treatment because he feels he should be punished.

"He wants to feel the pain of what he has done," added Mr Hartnett.

He said Humphries is a man of previous good character and suggested he had suffered from "impaired judgement" at the time of the offences.

The court was told earlier that Humphries had penned a letter of apology to his victim. His legal team asked for the court's permission to hand it over to her.

However, the victim, who was in court for the hour-and-a-half hearing, refused to accept the letter.

Judge Karen O'Connor adjourned sentencing to October 24 for the opportunity to consider prosecution and defence submissions.

Humphries was entitled to leave on bail, but in a request through his legal team he asked to be remanded in custody immediately. The judge agreed to the request and he was led away from the dock by prison staff.

His lawyer warned that due to Humphries' mental state he was concerned by his client's request to be remanded in custody immediately.

Judge O'Connor ordered that Humphries receive whatever treatment necessary while on remand in prison.

Humphries was one of the most admired sports journalists in the country at the time of his arrest in 2012.

The journalist and author was also due to stand trial in relation to three further charges involving a separate girl, but these charges were dropped by the prosecution earlier this year.

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