herald

Monday 22 October 2018

'I thought he loved me', says victim as grandad is jailed for raping her

Leanne Murphy waived her right to anonymity so that Christopher Redmond could be named
Leanne Murphy waived her right to anonymity so that Christopher Redmond could be named

A Dublin grandfather was jailed for five years yesterday for the repeated rape of his young granddaughter over a two-year period.

The judge in the case described the lack of sentencing guidelines in rape cases here as "somewhat bizarre".

Ms Justice Una Ni Raifeartaigh made her comments during the sentencing of Christopher Redmond.

She imposed a five-year prison sentence on Redmond (74) after noting he has a profound cognitive impairment that is slowly worsening.

Redmond, of Rathvilly Drive, Finglas, was convicted by a jury at the Central Criminal Court of four counts of rape and five counts of sexual assault against Leanne Murphy on dates between January 2002 and May 2004.

The attacks all took place at the Tolka Valley pitch-and-putt club on Ballyboggan Road, Finglas, where Redmond worked.

The victim, now 23, was between seven and nine at the time and had waived her right to anonymity so her abuser could be named.

She went to gardai in 2012. Redmond denied all the charges, but was convicted after a trial last February.

Ms Justice Ni Raifeartaigh set a headline sentence of 15 years but reduced this to 10 on the basis of an absence of previous offences and his age.

She further reduced this to five years after considering his progressive cognitive impairments.

The impairment does not go back to the time of offending or his time of arrest.

Redmond was assessed by a consultant forensic psychiatrist from the Central Mental Hospital, who concluded it was unlikely he was pretending.

He added that the cognitive decline could leave Redmond vulnerable to other prisoners.

The judge said the Supreme Court has said that rape offending should be punished with an "immediate and substantial" custodial sentence, but there was no information about sentencing in past cases.

Bizarre

She noted "this may seem astonishing", and said that while there was a lot of authority as to general sentencing principles, there was very little in the way of actual figures.

"One judge's substantial could be four years and another's could be 14 years. It's somewhat bizarre that an area that is so sensitive has so little in the way of guidance for a trial judge," she said.

She added that sentencing of rape offences was "highly unregulated" and this was a policy matter that had been much discussed.

She said it was remarkable that nothing was said or given to a judge in these cases in the way of figures and that the current case was typical in this regard.

The court previously heard that, as a child, the victim would go to help her grandfather at the club. During what the child thought was a game involving coins, he would molest her and make her touch his own genitals.

He promised her money for sweets and told her the abuse was their little secret.

The woman said she felt excruciating pain during the rapes and described her "soul leaving my body each time".

She would ask Redmond to "stop, don't do it" but he would tell the child "everything would be ok".

She said she grew up feeling scared, confused and vulnerable. She began self-harming at the age of 10.

"I've turned into such an angry person. I'll never know the person I could have been. My anxiety and depression destroyed me," she said. "I thought he loved me. It took years to realise he brainwashed me."

She added that her parents had trusted her grandfather and he had betrayed them.

She said that on a regular basis she has felt she wanted to die, adding that "the trauma overshadowed the good childhood they [her parents] had worked to give me".

"If you could see the pain on my skin it would be scars, that's how it feels," she said.

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