The Cork man who repeatedly raped his own young sister for years in the family home has been jailed for seven years.
41-year-old John Paul Hegarty of Castleview, Little Island, County Cork, was sentenced today by Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork.
The judge noted that the victim could not remember a time in her childhood when she was not being sexually abused by her brother, John Paul Hegarty.
Nora Hegarty, 35, waived her right to anonymity because she wanted her brother to be identified for what he did to her for years in the family home in the Glanmire area in the 1990s.
Nora Hegarty said, “I did this for all the people out there in the same situation as me, so they might have the courage to speak out.
John Paul Hegarty does not accept the verdicts of the jury. Ms Justice Murphy said that by not showing any remorse or taking any responsibility for his actions he had foregone the most significant mitigation in a sentence for sexual crimes.
The jury at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork was unanimous in the 23 guilty verdicts they delivered in the case against John Paul Hegarty who now commences an eight-year sentence with the final year suspended.
He denied raping his younger sister over a three-year period but the nine men and three women did not believe him. They deliberated extensively before finding him guilty on the 23 counts. On one further count there was a 10-2 majority guilty verdict. And only on one count – the 25th on the indictment - was there a not guilty verdict.
She was aged between 9 and 12 at the time of the rapes and sexual assaults. Her brother was aged from 15 to 18. She is now 35.
As well as thanking her mother for being supportive of her she expressed the hope that nothing in the trial would damage that bond.
Ms Justice Murphy said, “Her mother found herself in the awful position of having to give evidence in a trial where her daughter was the victim and her son was the perpetrator.”
Nora Hegarty concluded her victim impact statement by thanking her Uncle Dave, Aunt Norma, Det. Sgt. John O’Connell, Garda Eimear Brennan and Garda Mary Bridget Enneguess, her legal team – Catherine Fanning, Donal O’Sullivan and Siobhán Lankford - and Support After Crime for their help, and her friends, Liam and Ailish.
Nora Hegarty added, “I would not have done it without any of ye. Ye believed in me and helped me carry on. Thank ye from the bottom of my heart.”