Jailed for six and a half years for abusing step-daughters

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

A 51-year-old man who abused his step-daughters has been jailed for six and half years.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victims, was also ordered to spend a further two and a half years on probation after his release from prison.

The defendant pleaded guilty to 20 charges of indecently assaulting one of his step daughters.

He also admitted 13 charges of gross indecency towards this girl.

The defendant admitted one further charge of indecently assaulting her younger sister.

All the offences were committed between December, 1990 and January, 2001.

Derry Crown Court heard the abuse of the first victim started when she was seven or eight-years-old and that abuse continued until she started university.

The second victim was abused once when she was 12 or 13.

The court heard the defendant would touch his eldest step daughter in a sexual manner while she was in the bath.

He would also abuse her in the living room and bedroom of the family home and in his car.

The abuse involved touching the girl over and under her clothes and getting her to perform sexual acts on him.

He also simulated sex with the girl.

The 51-year-old abused his younger step-daughter on one occasion by touching her over and under her clothes.

The court heard that both victims have been adversely affected by the abuse, however the eldest victim was described as ‘fairly resilient’.

The abuse was brought to the attention of the victims’ mother in 2005 and she threw the defendant out of the family home.

Six month later he took the unusual step of reporting the abuse to police.

During interview he made full admissions, even though no complaint had been made by his step-daughters.

He told police he was taking full responsibility for what he had done and said that he was very sorry.

The 51-year-old also told the officers he realised what he had done was ‘very, very wrong’ and asked them to tell his victims and his wife he was sorry.

The victims did not make complaints to the police until 2014, when the defendant was living in the Republic of Ireland.

A European Arrest Warrant was issued and he consented to extradition.

Passing sentence, Judge Philip Babington said this case involved a ‘very serious breach of trust’.

He said this was aggravated by the protracted duration of the abuse and the fact that it took place in the family home.

The judge said the victims would never had to give evidence in this case and that ‘must be of some solace, however small, for them. The giving of evidence in a case such as this is always a very difficult process’.

Judge Babington told the court ‘despite the way the defendant has met this case, it does not get away from the fact that this most grave offending within a family unit’.

Jailing the defendant, the judge added there have been ‘serious repercussions’ for the victims ‘which they will have to live with for the rest of their lives’.

He will also be subject to notification requirements of the sex offenders register for an indefinite period and is banned from working with children.

A sexual offences prevention order was also imposed which bans the 51-year-old from anything but inadvertent contact with a child under 16 .