“Up to now it felt like my life was on hold but now I think I finally have a future I can look forward to.” That was the reaction by one of the victims of a Mayo man who last week was found guilty by a Central Criminal Court jury of sexually assaulting two children in the pub where he worked over eleven years ago.
The 39-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of sexual assault and 13 counts of oral rape against one girl; also 14 counts of sexual assault, 13 counts of oral rape and one count of anal rape against the second child on dates between June 1999 and September 2000.
The girls were between eight and ten years old at the time of the offences.
The trial, which took over a week to complete, heard harrowing details of how the man sexually assaulted the two girls. Speaking after the verdict one of the victims said the verdict was ‘a dream come true’.
“This is the best thing that could have happened for both of us. Before this trial I always found it so difficult to speak about what happened to us … That man stole my childhood and my life up to this point.”
Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan remanded the man in custody and adjourned sentencing to later this month.
The first complainant, now 20-years-old, earlier in the trial told Ms Deirdre Murphy SC, prosecuting, that she and her best friend would go to her mother’s work place after school and would watch cartoons in a nearby pub where they regularly used the toilet.
She said that they began to be sexually abused together during their visits by the accused, who worked there as a barman. She said he would give them money and gave her cigarettes and cider.
She said she didn’t complain to the Gardaí until 2008, as she never wanted to tell anyone because she thought the abuse was her own fault. “I thought it was me and I was afraid my mother would lose her business,” she said.
The defendant, who is married with two children, was first arrested in 2009 and denied the offences when questioned by gardaí. The evidence in the case was originally heard in March 2010 but the jury were unable to reach a verdict and they were discharged.
Detective Superintendent Michael Larkin who headed up the investigation praised the ‘excellent and professional manner’ that local Mayo gardaí carried out the investigation.