THIS is the face of the man convicted of raping his 74-year-old aunt.
Christopher Ward (51) violently raped the elderly lady during a horrific four-hour ordeal.
His victim, Kathleen Ward, has bravely waived her right to anonymity to encourage other victims of sexual assault to come forward.
Ward was convicted by a Central Criminal Court jury in April of the rape and sexual assault of his aunt.
Last Monday, he was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
“I am waiving my right to anonymity so that I can protect other women and children from the same thing happening to them, all women and children,” Mrs Ward told
The widow from Dundalk said she was visited by her nephew at 7am on March 13, 2011, when he was at large from Hatfield prison in the UK.
The rapist had been serving an 11-year sentence for robbery and wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm, but was on day release from prison at the time.
He has 92 previous convictions.
“I can never start my life over. My life will never be the same again to tell you the truth. I carry that to the grave with me,” said Mrs Ward.
“He’s ruined my life completely. He’s taken everything I had away.”
Mrs Ward had only met her nephew on one previous occasion, when he visited her home one week earlier.
The rapist grew up in England and had not met his relatives in Ireland. When he failed to return to prison in the UK from his day release he travelled to Dundalk.
“He knocked on my door at 7am and I invited him in for a cup of tea,” explained Mrs Ward.
“He ripped my clothes off me like ripping paper and held a knife to my throat,” she said.
“I was an hour in the sitting room and three hours in the bedroom, so you can just imagine what that’s like, I was four hours getting raped and tortured.”
Between the date of the rape and sentencing she said she has been a “prisoner in her own home”, and fears for her safety at all times, not allowing any man into her home.
“I won’t let a man near my house unless they have their wife or their partner with them,” she said.
The only thing that has remained with her since the ordeal is her belief in God, however she does not feel she will be “allowed” into heaven because she was raped.
“I don’t know if I will get into heaven or not. It’s only my belief,” said the widow.
Mrs Ward married her husband John when she was 17 years of age and he died 10 years ago. She has lived on her own ever since.
Mr Justice George Birmingham said she had understandably felt she was safe letting her nephew in. “Sadly, she could not have been more wrong,” he said.
He noted Ward has not expressed any “regret, apology or remorse” for the offence.
Mrs Ward likened her emotions on hearing of her nephew’s conviction and sentencing to winning the lottery and said she is “quite satisfied”.
However, she cannot comprehend why her nephew chose to rape her and if she could ask him anything she would ask him why he did it.
The courageous widow, in waiving her right to anonymity, now urges other victims to come forward.
“I advise anybody that was ever raped to come to the police and let the police know. The police will help you,” said Mrs Ward.