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22/09/2021

Derry court hears woman who was sexually abused by both her father and by her uncle over twenty years ago still suffers from the psychological damage

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The Crown Court in Derry has been told that a woman who was sexually abused by both her father and by her uncle over twenty years ago, still suffers from the psychological damage caused to her as a result of the abuse. The victim's father and uncle were both convicted by a jury, following a trial in June, of indecently assaulting her. Because of the relationship between the victim and her abusers, neither her father nor her uncle can be named. Her uncle was convicted of two charges of indecently assaulting her between October 1989, when the victim was aged four, and October 1991. Her father was convicted of three charges of indecently assaulting his daughter between October 1995 and October 2001, when she was aged between ten and fifteen years. The court was told that the victim's father continued to deny his guilt and had instructed his barrister to appeal against the verdicts of the jury. The court was also told that victim's uncle accepted the verdicts of the jury. The uncle committed his two offences when he was babysitting his niece in her family home. The victim's father abused her in his bedroom and in her bedroom. A prosecution barrister, Ms. Jackie Orr Q.C, said among the aggravating features of the case were the relationship between the victim and her abusers, the fact that she was a vulnerable child who should have been safe in her family home and the fact that she had to give evidence at the trial of her father and uncle. "This was a gross abuse of trust and it was a prolonged period of abuse by her father who told her he would shoot himself if she reported the abuse and that she would have to live with the guilt of his death", she said. Defence barrister Ciaran Mallon Q.C., for the victim's father, told Judge Babington, who had presided over the June trial, that he acknowledged the aggravating features of the offending and he also accepted that the victim had and still suffered from the psychological harm caused by the abuse for which her father was convicted of. "The defendant continues to deny the charges and continues to deny the offences and the verdicts of the jury and has unilaterally instructed that he wishes to appeal against the findings of the jury", Mr. Mallon said. Meanwhile defence barrister Martin Rodgers, Q.C., for the victim's uncle, said while the uncle had abused his niece while babysitting her, the abuse was not carried out over a long period of time. "His abuse was opportunistic. I have specific instructions to say that the defendant is not appealing the verdicts and he accepts the verdicts of the jury which I hope will afford some degree of comfort and closure to the complainant with respect to the findings of the jury", he said. Judge Babington told both defendants that he would sentence them on September 10. "It is inevitable both of you will be receiving substantial sentences then, therefore I am revoking your bail now and remanding you both in custody", he told them.

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