Jailed for ‘callous and shameful abuse’

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

A 61-year-old man who sexually abused two girls four decades ago has been jailed for five years.

Kevin Doherty, of Main Street, Eglinton, was also ordered to spend two years on probation following his release from prison.

He will also be subject to a sexual offences prevention order for an indefinite period.

The 61-year-old pleaded guilty to six charges of indecent assault and four charges of gross indecency.

The offences were committed between 1973 and 1981.

Doherty was 18-years-old when the abuse began and his victims were aged six and sixteen.

Derry Crown Court heard he abused the youngest victim over a prolonged period of time.

Doherty would give her sweets and tell her to say nothing.

The abuse came to light after a meeting in a local parochial house in August 2013.

It was attended by the defendant, one of the victims and a local priest.

After the meeting the woman went to police and was accompanied by a member of the Derry Diocesan Safeguarding Team.

Passing sentence, Judge Philip Babington said the two victims were subjected to ‘callous and shameful abuse’ by Doherty.

He said the five year jail sentence was both ‘necessary and appropriate’.

The judge accepted the 61-year-old deserved ‘some credit for his guilty plea thereby saving the victims the ordeal of giving evidence’.

Speaking after their abuser was jailed, the victims said the five year sentence had given them back ‘self respect and self esteem’.

They thanked the judge for his sentencing comments which were ‘aimed at protecting children from the type of sexual abuse we endured’.

The women also encouraged other victims of sexual abuse to report it.

The NSPCC also issued a statement at the conclusion of the case. A spokesperson said: ‘The sentence imposed by the judge sends a strong message that offences against children are serious crimes as well as acknowledging the long-term and potentially devastating impact on the victims’.

‘We would encourage anyone who has been affected by abuse not to suffer in silence, but to contact ChildLine on 0800 1111 or the NSPCC helpline for adults who are concerned about a child on 0808 800 5000.’