A 51-year-old man has been jailed for ten years for the “systematic abuse” of members of his family.
The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victims, pleaded guilty to a total of thirty three charges at Derry Crown Court.
They included one charge of attempted rape, 26 charges of indecent assault and six charges of child cruelty.
The offences took place between January 1, 1985 and December 31, 2002 and were perpetrated against four victims, two girls and two boys.
Derry Crown Court heard that the first victim remembers the abuse starting when she was around 11 years old and as she got older it increased and became more regular, occurring three to four times each week.
It was revealed the abuse of this girl was “accompanied by a variety of threats and inducements” to encourage her not to tell anyone about what was happening.
The second victim was sexually abused when she was aged between thirteen and fourteen.
The abuse took place in the family home, until the 51-year-old was asked to leave by another family member.
Derry Crown Court heard the physical abuse involved locking some of his victims in their bedroom for so long they urinated on the floor.
He slapped and punched the children and beat them with belts and sticks. The 51-year-old also kicked one of the boys while he was wearing steel capped boots.
Handing down the ten year jail term, Judge Alistair Devlin ordered the man to spend a further two years on probation.
The judge read from victim impact reports and said the problems suffered by the victims as a result of the abuse included depression, chronic alcoholism and suicide attempts.
One of the victims expressed “feelings of hoplessness and embarassment” and said he felt “completely disadvantaged in life” because of the abuse.
Referring to the sex offences, the judge said the man had subjected his victims to “systematic abuse over a number of years” and that he had “targeted, groomed and exploited them.”
He said he had breached the trust of the children and abused a position of power.
The 51-year-old was ordered to sign the sex offenders register for an indefinite period and was banned from having any unsupervised contact with children.
He was also banned from working with children and from having any contact with his victims in the future.