Father who treated children like mini soldiers jailed for ten years for child cruelty and sex abuse

The case was heard at Bishop Street courthouse.
The case was heard at Bishop Street courthouse.

A County Derry man who ‘lined his children up like mini soldiers’ and beat them has been jailed for ten and a half years.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victims, also sexually abused his daughter.

He pleaded guilty to seven charges of indecent assault, three charges of child cruelty and two charges of common assault.

The offences were committed between May 1979 and March 1994 and the victims were his daughter and two sons.

Derry Crown Court heard the physical and sexual abuse was reported to police in July 2013.

The daughter reported that her father would ‘line us up like mini soldiers if they had done anything wrong’ and beat them.

He used his hands, a wooden brush and a poker to beat his children and they would be left with bruises and black eyes.

She was also sexually abused by her father.

The court heard she was forced to perform oral sex on him, he would grope her chest and also touched her privates.

The man threatened to kill her if she didn’t do as she was told.

The sexual abuse ended in 1989, when she was aged 15.

Her two brothers reported being physically abused by their father and although there was social services involvement with the family, he warned them if they said anything about the beatings they would ‘get the poker’.

One of the sons revealed he had been beaten so badly by his father he could ‘hardly move’.

Defence counsel Billy McCrory QC said his client had ‘led an otherwise blameless life’ urged the court to give him credit for his guilty plea.

Judge Philip Babington said the three children were ‘systematically beaten by their father’.

He added that the sexual abuse suffered by the daughter was ‘particularly violent and disgusting’.

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