Co Derry brothers jailed for sex abuse lose court appeals


Two brothers jailed for a catalogue of child sex abuse offences against members of their own family were safely convicted, the Court of Appeal ruled.

Judges threw out challenges by the father and uncle of victims subjected to years of molestation described as being at an almost unprecedented level.

The men, aged in their fifties and from Co Derry, were tried for a combined total of 56 offences, including rape, gross indecency with children, indecent assault, buggery, common assault and child cruelty.

The abuse, carried out against the son and daughter of one of the defendants, was allegedly carried out between 1990 and 1998.

In her evidence the girl said she was repeatedly raped and attacked in a campaign that began she was aged just six.

A trial at Derry Crown Court last year heard her father and uncle would sometimes take turns to rape her.

She said the pair filmed their abuse and then forced her to watch the recordings.

On other occasions she was punched, choked, kicked in the ribs and put in a scalding bath after one sexual assault.

Her father also stubbed cigarettes out on heir stomach and threw her across the floor of their home, it was alleged.

She further claimed he forced her to perform a sex act on him in a car while her brother was asleep in the back seat.

The boy told how he was sexually abused from the age of seven, with incidents taking place in the family shed and bathroom.

Episodes of cruelty meted out to him included being slapped in the face and put under a cold shower when he asked to be bought a basketball.

He also recalled being burnt by cigarettes on several occasions.

The two men, who were jailed for 28 years and 23 years, had pleaded guilty to sexually abusing their younger sister during the 1970s and 1980s.

Sentences of 28 years and 23 years were imposed for the combined catalogue of offending spanning decades.

At the time the judge told them they were guilty of “a level of abuse that was almost unprecedented”.

Appeals were centred on the convictions for abusing the children of one of the defendants.

Their lawyers advanced a number of grounds of challenge, including claims the trial judge misdirected the jury, points about admitting bad character evidence, and allegedly inconsistent verdicts.

But Lord Justice Coghlin, sitting with Lord Chief Justice Morgan and Lord Justice Gillen, rejected all defence arguments.

He confirmed: “We have not been left with any sense of unease, nor have we been persuaded that the convictions are unsafe.

“Accordingly, the appeals of both appellants will be dismissed.”