A ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ who abused a 10-year-old girl for the last time on his wedding day 42 years ago has received a prison term of 11 years and four months.
At Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Francis Comerford imposed the prison term on Patrick Larkin (68) of Marian Estate, Kilkee in west Clare and said that his crimes “did very great damage to his four victims”.
In the case, Mr Larkin – named today for the first time by order of the court-pleaded guilty to the sexual abuse of four girls spanning five decades over four separate time periods from 1976 to 2018.
Mr Larkin told Gardaí in an interview “it was the devil inside that made me do these things”.
Judge Comerford has suspended the final 18 months of the 11-year four-month prison term. Mr Larkin heard Judge Comerford pass sentence from his prison via video link.
Judge Comerford said that Mr Larkin – 69 later this month, had committed his crimes across a very long period of time “and had moved from victim to victim”.
He said: “He was a predator, and he did harm to his victims and these completely innocent people were victimised by the deeply grave and deeply terrible crimes by Patrick Larkin.”
Judge Comerford said: “This case is extreme because of the length of the offending.”
In evidence, Det Garda Conor Flaherty of the Clare Division’s Protective Services Unit said that Mr Larkin admitted to Gardaí that he was attracted to nine and ten-year-old girls.
Last November, at his initial sentencing hearing, Larkin voluntarily went into custody and after hearing the State case and victim impact statements, Judge Comerford told the court that he would have been remanding Mr Larkin in custody anyway.
Mr Larkin was first charged with 221 counts of sexual and indecent assaults between 1976 and 2018 concerning four complainants.
In the case, Mr Larkin pleaded guilty to 53 sample counts concerning the first three victims and pleaded guilty to the single count relating to the 2018 sex assault on the fourth girl.
Mr Larkin’s first victim was born in 1971 and was sexually abused on “numerous occasions” from the age of five in 1976 to when she was aged 10 on Mr Larkin’s wedding day in 1981. Larkin – who worked for Clare Co Council for 35 years – started his catalogue of abuse at the age of 22.
Mr Larkin’s final victim was born in 2008, and he pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault in Summer 2018 when she was aged 10.
Another victim was sexually assaulted by Larkin aged six to 11 in the years 1991 to 1996.
In her victim impact statement, the woman, now aged 37, told the court that Larkin was “a wolf in sheep’s clothing looking for the right opportunity to pounce”.
The woman said that she spent time at the offender’s home as her mother was in hospital for a period.
She said: “Instead of helping to nurture that six-year-old, he instead used me for his own disgusting sexual perversions.
“Not only did he sexually abuse me from the ages of six to 10, but he also emotionally tortured me with whispers of “nobody will believe you”, “if you tell anyone you will never see your family again”, “you’ll be left all alone” and ‘you know I love you”.
The woman said: “It was an egregious abuse of trust, of normal decency….They say the body keeps the score. I have spent so many years pushing things down, my disgust, my fear, my sadness, my pain. Pushing deeper within myself until I could feel nothing at all.”
Det Garda Flaherty said that Larkin’s decades of abuse was exposed when a mother of a third victim confronted him at a funeral in Kilkee in the Summer of 2019.
At the funeral, Larkin confessed to the mother of the abuse and after a number of people became aware of this locally, Larkin’s first two victims came forward to make a statement to Gardai.
Counsel, Patrick Whyms BL for Mr Larkin said that his client has been called a ‘paedophile’ on the street in his home place.
Mr Whyms said that Mr Larkin had agreed with TUSLA not to have any more contact with any children.
Mr Whyms said that Mr Larkin’s own children have abandoned him while he is separated from his wife.
In sentencing, Judge Comerford said that Mr Larkin is in poor health “and is deeply depressed because of his personal circumstances”.
He said: “He does say that he knows that he is wiped out – that is a reality and he says that he hopes the victims can get on with their lives and manage their lives. He knows what he did was wrong.”
Judge Comerford said: “He knows that if he does return to freedom he will live out his days alone.”