Grandfather sentenced for sexual assault of granddaughter

A pensioner who sexually assaulted his granddaughter has been ordered to spend two years on Probation.

Friday, 18th January 2019, 12:51 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:50 pm
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

The 73-years-old, who cannot be named to protect the victim who is now 14-years-old, pleaded guilty to one charge of sexual assault between June and October, 2015.

Derry Crown Court heard the incident came to light two years later when the victim’s mother found her diary whilst tidying her bedroom.

The diary entry recounted inappropriate behaviour towards the girl by her grandfather.

Her mother brought it to the attention of Social Services and the girl made a statement to police at a later date.

She said she had fallen out with her mother at the time and was staying with her grandparents.

One evening, when she was wearing shorts and a T-shirt, her grandfather ‘squeezed’ her knee and she left the room.

The court heard the girl went into her bedroom and later that evening she heard footsteps outside the room.

The girl looked in a mirror and saw her grandfather’s reflection. He was wearing pyjamas and got into the bed beside her.

The girl had her back to him and she felt him put his hand on her stomach under her clothes.

He also squeezed her breast.

The court was told the whole incident lasted between 20 and 30 seconds and the girl pretended to be asleep.

She contacted her mother the following day and asked to go home.

During police interview, the defendant denied touching the girl under her clothes. He claimed that she had come into his bed and said that she wanted him to ‘scratch her.’

The defendant, who has no previous convictions, denied that there was any sexual contact between them.

The court heard the 73-years-old has been assessed as presenting a low likelihood of further offending and that he is ‘horrified’ by the effect his behaviour has had on the victim.

Passing sentence, Judge Philip Babington said the pensioner’s behaviour “has been aggravated by the breach of trust.”

He said the defendant “no longer has any contact with the complainant, who is his only granddaughter, and there has been adverse repercussions for the entire family.”

The judge said guilty pleas in cases like these are “always valuable as it means that a young child does not have to give evidence. The victim is now 14 and that would have been an ordeal for her.”

He told the defendant his behaviour was ‘inexcusable and selfish’ and that he gave no consideration to the victim.

Imposing the Probation Order, the judge said the defendant will also be subject to the notification requirements of the Sex Offences Act for five years.