A Mayo man who repeatedly raped a child over the course of two years has received a prison sentence of nine years with one suspended.
The now adult victim has indicated that she wishes for the man's name to be published, but a controversial Court of Appeal ruling last November in relation to child victims of crime means this cannot be done without an order from the court.
The Central Criminal Court heard that during a number of the attacks between 2009 and 2011 the man would rape the child with a tampon before forcing her to have sex with him.
Justice Michael White said that the attacks were extremely violent and had had a severe impact. He said this was to be expected and noted the victim has self harmed a number of times and has made three suicide attempts.
After his arrest in 2012 the man strenuously denied any wrongdoing, telling gardaí “it’s a fairy tale, it never happened, I’m not a paedophile. I want to vomit when I hear those (allegations)”.
Last November he pleaded guilty to rape, oral rape and rape with a tampon. He later pleaded guilty to six more counts of a similar nature.
All the offending took place between December 2009 and December 2011 when the child was aged between seven and nine years old.
After a trial in 2015 a jury convicted the man of multiple rapes of another young girl. In 2017 he was convicted of possession of “child pornography” found on a computer seized during a search of his home in 2012 by gardaí investigating the rape offences.
The court heard that the man previously lived next door to the girl and her mother in another county and that the mother was struggling as the father had left the family home. After he moved to Mayo he continued to stay in touch with the mother and offered to take the child away for short stays on the pretence of giving the woman a break.
Justice White said that this was a premeditated plan to gain access to the child and was an abuse of the mother's trust.
Sentencing him on Wednesday, Justice White said that the man's guilty plea was significant because it saved the victim the “very difficult” task of giving evidence in a trial.
But he said that there was an absence of genuine remorse or understanding for the enormity of his offending. He imposed concurrent nine year prison terms for each offence which are to run consecutive to the termination of the 15 prison term he is currently serving.
Justice White suspended the final year on condition that the man make himself available for assessment for his suitability on the “Better Lives” sex offenders programme.