by Isabel Hurley and Brian McDonald in The Irish Independent
A 58-YEAR-OLD West of Ireland farmer yesterday pleaded guilty at Dublin Central Criminal Court to 12 sample charges out of 150 counts of raping and sexually assaulting his four daughters.
The man pleaded guilty to the charges before Justice Paul Carney and the judge remanded him for sentencing on June 20. The judge also ordered the man to be certified as a sex offender under the 2001 Act.
Dressed in a dark navy suit and white shirt, the grey-haired man, whose name cannot be named to protect the identity of his victims, pleaded guilty in a barely audible voice to charges read out in court.
These relate to dates from March 1983 to November 1997. Of the 150 counts before the court, only a sample number of charges were read out in the hearing.
The man pleaded guilty to 10 charges of raping three of his daughters, along with two charges of indecently assaulting a fourth daughter, all at the family home in the West of Ireland.
The man stood alone throughout the hearing near the top of the courtroom. He showed no emotion as Judge Paul Carney ruled that his name be placed on an official Sex Offenders List.
A number of young women cried silently at the back of the courtroom as the charges were listed. The farmer left the court after the case, lingered at the courtroom door, and then walked alone out the main door of the Four Courts on to the City Quays.
A barrister for the Director of Public Prosecutions had stated that victim impact reports would be available to the court on June 20. Among the matters the judge will have to consider when he delivers his sentence is the deadly cunning shown by the rapist.
As the net closed in on him, he sought to escape the inevitability of the hugely serious charges by fleeing the country. He made hasty arrangements and flew to an English-speaking country where a relative was living. (The name of the country cannot be disclosed for fear of identifying the victims).
From there, he boasted that he was safe and could not be touched by Irish law as no extradition treaty existed between Ireland and the country where he was now living.
The news shocked his already traumatised daughters and also came as a major surprise to senior gardai working on the case. Detectives discovered that the farmer had indeed done his homework - no formal treaty was in force by which he could be compelled to return to Ireland.
But gardai conveyed their concerns about his presence to the police authorities there and when the 59-year-old farmer was located through his relative, his propensity for violence which had destroyed his own family proved his undoing.
When questioned by police officers about his reasons for being in their country, he exploded and became involved in a nasty physical confrontation.
An officer had to use Mace gas to contain him and take him into custody. From there, his deportation was a formality.
Following his arrival back in Ireland, he was arrested and charged with the offences to which he pleaded guilty yesterday.
A senior detective who has extensive experience of working on some of the most traumatic cases in the West of Ireland over the last two decades, described the details of the abuse of the four girls as the most harrowing he had ever heard of.
"These were four helpless little girls who had nobody to turn to and he abused them as he pleased. There was no end to it," he said.
Remarkably, the rapist successfully hid his actions from his neighbours for almost two decades. Although in a rural area, his home is not remote and the nearest house is close by. Neighbours knew he made his children work hard on the family farm and make their own way to school in all weather, but they never dreamt of the nightmare quality of their home life.Posted by Colm at April 29, 2003 04:18 PM