| 7.5°C Dublin

Rapist dad is now likely to end days behind bars

The 73-year-old convicted of the rape and sexual assault of his children will probably die in prison.

"Too good for him" is the unanimous verdict of his victims -- and there have been many.

His first victims are approaching middle age while he is beginning a second jail term for child abuse.

He was this week found guilty on 87 counts of rape and sexual assault of his two daughters and a son and will be sentenced on October 4.

His defence in this latest trial was that he instructed his children, who were in care, to make up the story of abuse so that they could be freed from the care homes.

He indicated that he was prepared to "sacrifice himself" for their common good -- a defence described as an elaborate smokescreen which demonstrated just how devious he could be.

The pensioner, the father of a large family, was previously jailed when he was convicted, after another lengthy trial, of a large number of charges of indecent assault on two girls.

This was unknown to the current jury, who had been warned at the outset of the marathon trial not to "google" on the internet for information on the man in the dock.

When the man was found guilty at the previous trial, the sentencing judge was asked to take into consideration as mitigation the fact that he had been prevented access to his children since his arrest .

This was "weighing very heavily on him".

Then he had a number of unrelated but serious charges spanning more than 50 years.

One of the complainants at the previous trial became extremely distressed after the sentence, saying: "I hope you rot in hell."

Another woman who adds her voice to that sentiment is his former wife, the mother of the abused children.



Victim

She, too, was a victim of rape and sex abuse as a child.

She was also his victim in that she was not aware of what was happening under her own roof and she trusted him.

He had comforted and consoled her about her own trauma as a sex abuse victim.

The jury in the Central Criminal Court this time found him guilty on 87 counts out of 113.

They acquitted him of two further counts of sexual assault and failed to agree verdicts on another seven charges.

Mr Justice George Birmingham had ordered them to return not guilty verdicts on a further 17 counts.

The Dublin man had pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting, raping and orally raping two daughters between the ages of five and 11 and sexually assaulting his son from the age of three to six.

The jury took more than 13 hours to reach their verdicts after a trial which lasted seven weeks.

They found the man guilty of most of the charges, including the rape of his two young daughters, on Thursday, and returned convictions on another nine charges yesterday.

The eldest girl, now 19, was initially taken into care in 2000 but she ran away and was abused by her father when he picked her up in a car.

A social worker revealed that in September 2001, the son made allegations of physical abuse against his father but did not make allegations of a sexual nature until a subsequent meeting.

The father had begun abusing his son from 1996, when the boy was three. At the age of six, the boy was taken into care and placed with a foster family.

He said he would go to the toilet in his bedroom "or anywhere" because he was afraid to go to the bathroom.

He said that once he went downstairs in the night and saw his father watching his older sister naked on the television. He said his father was angry and told him to go back upstairs.

cmallon@herald.ie