A Sligo man has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for the rape, indecent and sexual assault of three children over three decades ago.
The Central Criminal Court heard that a Sligo man in his late 60s was found guilty of anal rape, indecent assault and sexual assault, which occurred in various locations between 1983-1993.
The man, who cannot be named to protect his victims, was aged in his 30s at the time of the assaults. The victims, who were known to the accused, were aged between the ages of 5-13 at the time.
The man's lawyers asked Mr Justice David Keane to receive three character references, however, the judge refused to accept them.
The judge said he would only allow character references if the people who have written the letters were present in court to take the stand. This would also allow for cross-examination of this referee's testimony to take place, he added.
Detective Sergeant Gerard Mullaney told the court that the first victim was indecently assaulted and anally raped by the accused. The assaults began with touching but progressed to rape after the accused entered the room she was sleeping in.
The court heard the second victim was indecently assaulted in her home by the accused on occasions when he would spend the night in her home.
The accused would come upstairs during the night and go into her room, the court heard. He would then leave her room, go to the bathroom and flush the toilet to give the impression he had gone upstairs to use the toilet.
Det Sgt Mullaney told the court the third victim went to the accused’s home "for a message". She was brought to a shed at the back of the house where the accused assaulted her.
When the man was interviewed by gardaí relating to the allegations which had been made, he denied them, saying it was "all lies" and "a load of crap".
Two of the three victims read their victim impact statements in court, with one describing how the accused has "ruined her entire life" and that she still has "flashbacks and nightmares".
Another victim said she was "filled with fear from the age of seven onwards and became a scared and angry child".
Roisin Lacey, SC, defending, told the court her client has no previous conviction and was not known to gardaí before these allegations were made. She said her client was a hardworking man with many medical conditions.
The accused does not accept the verdict of the jury.
A Probation Services report handed into court outlined that the accused was of low risk of reoffending.
Mr Justice David Keane began by commending the three victims on their courage in making the complaints, adding that he hoped they could draw strength from the jury’s verdict.
He said that concerning the rape, the accused was a mature adult who was nearly 40, and the victim was a defenceless child.
Mr Justice Keane noted that mitigating factors were limited as no guilty pleas were available, and the accused did not accept the verdict and denied the incidents.
He said there had been no remorse shown by the accused. However, he said he would take the lack of previous convictions, his eventual cooperation with gardaí and his low risk of reoffending into account.
The accused was found guilty in February 2022 of one count of anal rape, 13 counts of indecent assault and three counts of sexual assault, which occurred in various locations between 1983 and 1993.
Mr Justice Keane sentenced him to 11 years in prison. In addition, he ordered the accused to remain under the supervision of the probation services for three years post-release and engage with all services outlined.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800-77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help.
In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112.