Friday, December 9, 2011

Dad tortured and raped daughters over 18 years (County Mayo, Ireland)


Man tortured and raped daughters over 18 years

A 50-YEAR-old man who has pleaded guilty to raping and ill-treating four of his daughters is to be sentenced at the Central Criminal Court in Castlebar, Co Mayo, today.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had initially pleaded not guilty to 271 charges of raping and assaulting or neglecting his four daughters between 1991 and 2009.

He changed his plea last week to guilty, and was rearraigned on 14 sample charges, including nine charges of rape of four daughters and five charges of ill-treatment.

The series of offences included raping one daughter on the bonnet of a car, and another was raped while tied to a tree in a remote stretch of woodland. Various implements were used in repeated beatings.

One daughter told of having a vicegrip (steel pincers) locked on to her ears, lips and nose. Once her father closed the vicegrip on a tooth and the tooth broke.

Yesterday a witness, a female garda, told the court that the accused, a member of the Travelling community, had lived with his family in isolated, rural locations.

The abuse had come to light on March 24th, 2009, when two men called to a Garda station expressing concern. The female garda called to a house where a number of the victims were residing and was told that there was no wrongdoing.

She made further inquiries and in April 2009 she became aware that one of the daughters had attempted suicide. When she called to see her the woman expressed concern for her siblings.

As a result of the investigation, the witness continued, an emergency care order had been issued by a judge in respect of the children on June 3rd, 2009.

The garda then quoted from a series of statements made by a number of the daughters.

One said the abuse had started when she was five to seven years old and it continued until she was 18 and left home. Her father had abused her very badly on the night before she left. She had thumbed a lift to the train station and gone to the other side of the country, where she slept behind a clothes bank for three nights.

The wife of a local garda had then put her up for several nights before putting her in touch with a social worker.

After abusing her, her father told her that he would kill her if she ever told anyone and she would be buried in a bog and never found.

When she was nine years old, she was tied to a tree in the woods with wire, raped and had a sock put in her mouth. She bled heavily afterwards and lost the power of her legs. In a further incident, her father stuck a knife in her right arm and drew it down. The father then sewed up the wound with a needle and thread.

Medical evidence cited by the witness included an examination by a doctor who said that one could only “cringe” at what the girl would have gone through without anaesthetic.

Her father had hit her on the head with a hammer and held her in a river to clean the blood off her.

The girl told of another occasion when she was tied to a horse which was whipped to run. The horse had tripped and fallen over on to her legs.

A second daughter, now also in her 20s, told gardaĆ­ she had been raped up to the age of 13. Her father had “tried to make us think it was a normal life” when it was not. She gave details of being raped and buggered and told of how her father would bring her to the shop and give her sweets.

The father would switch from one child to the other. He did not care if the others were watching or not.

She continued: “I think about it every day in my life what he did. I was told, ‘if you say anything you are dead. Not matter how long I get, I will hunt you down and I will kill you’.”

A third daughter told gardaĆ­ her father had ripped off all her clothes and raped her in front of her siblings while her mother had gone to the shop to get alcohol.

The girl said she had been abused from age nine to the age of 20 and was sometimes raped three and four times a day. She described how she was also tied to a tree and raped and her brother was made to stay and watch.

Her brother cut the string and untied her.

She said that they were beaten with poles, hammers, sticks, harnesses and horse whips. She saw her sister being raped so many times and she could not do anything about it. The girl said her mother and father sometimes made them watch pornography.

The Garda witness, in reply to Paul Burns, SC, prosecuting, said the father had been arrested on June 3rd and July 7th, 2009, and denied all wrongdoing.

Born in 1961, he had 87 previous convictions, mostly relating to the abuse of an elder daughter for which he had been convicted and sentenced to 14 years last year. Evidence had shown that he had fathered two children by her.

There were other convictions for larceny, burglary and traffic offences dating back to the 1980s, the garda said. The court was told yesterday his wife was serving eight years in prison.

Mr Burns described the offences as top of the scale. The only mitigating factor was the plea of guilty which saved the complainants from having to give evidence.

Martin Giblin SC, defending, said the man was one of 11 children and was illiterate. He had spent fewer than 12 days in school in total. He asked for a determinate sentence. Lives had been destroyed, including that of the accused.

He said the man and his wife were estranged and some of the children were “supportive”. The plea of guilty was a significant mitigating factor, even though it was tendered late in the day.

Mr Justice Paul Carney is to pass sentence today.