Jailed for sexually abusing daughter

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

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A father who raped and sexually abused his daughter has been jailed for ten years.

The 45-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, was found guilty of twelve sex offences by a Derry Crown Court jury.

They include rape, indecent assault, sexual assault and common assault.

The offences were committed between January 2007 and May 2012, when the victim was aged between six and ten years old.

The court heard the defendant and his wife split up when the girl was four.

She moved with her mother and her siblings to County Donegal.

Following the split, an arrangement was made for the children to spend time with their father at their grandmother’s home in County Derry.

The court was told it was during these contact visits that the girl was sexually abused.

The 45-year-old waited until everyone went to bed and began to consume alcohol.

He allowed the girl to stay up late and she later reported when her dad drank ‘he went crazy’.

The man used to dance ‘naked or semi-naked’ in front of his daughter and play music so loud in front of her ‘it would scare her’.

He began to touch his daughter over her clothes and told her it was ‘their little secret’.

The abuse escalated and the man told the girl if she said anything ‘she would get hurt’.

Passing sentence, Judge Steven Fowler said the girl suffered ‘prolonged assaults’ and a ‘significant degree of harm’.

The judge said an aggravating factor in the case was the ‘gross breach of trust’.

He added that the abuse occurred when the girl ‘should have felt safe’.

Judge Fowler jailed the defendant for a total of ten years, half of which is to be spent in custody and half on licence in the community.

The man must also sign the sex offenders register and be subject to a sex offences prevention order for an indefinite period.