Friday, May 05, 2023

Claire Henry

The first complainant in the trial of five people accused of various sexual offences and assaults against four members of their extended family continued her evidence on Friday.

A man (66) and his three sons, aged 38, 40 and 41, are on trial at the Central Criminal Court, charged with over 100 counts of rape and sexual assault against the four then-children.

The 63-year-old wife of the first defendant is also on trial, charged with assaults and concealing the effects of anal rape on one of the children, her granddaughter.

The court heard the alleged offences occurred between September 1999 and February 2004 against four complainants, who were children at the time and are now in their 30s. The five defendants deny all the charges.

On the third day of the trial on Friday, the first complainant, now 30, testified that while visiting her grandparents in a rural area in Leinster, she was raped four times by two of her uncles, the second and third defendants in this trial. The woman told her grandmother about one of the incidents and said she was beaten with a stick for lying.

The woman described staying with her grandparents, aunts, and uncles at a location in Leinster, and at one time, the family travelled to get food in her uncle’s van.

The court heard that everyone got out of the van, but the girl was told to stay in the van by her uncle, the second defendant. She said he drove the van down the road, got out and grabbed her, before throwing her into the back of the van, where he anally raped her. She said she was screaming, and added that he also raped her vaginally.


On a separate occasion, the girl was told to go to the shop with the same uncle and help him with the shopping. Instead of going to the shop, the second defendant drove to a GAA pitch, where he anally raped her.

The complainant said she had grazes to her hands and knees and could not understand why nobody noticed this when she returned.

She told Shane Costelloe SC, prosecuting, about an occasion when another uncle, the third defendant, called her back to the trailer while she was playing with her aunts. The woman said her uncle tricked her, and he “was supposed to give me sweets but threw me on the bunk”, where he anally raped her.

When it was over, she said she pulled up her trousers, ran outside and vomited. While this was happening, she said her uncle allegedly stood nearby and laughed at her. She said: “It was just a game to him. He didn’t care.”

The woman told the court that on another occasion, she had been playing in the water in the field, and this same uncle told her to go to the apple tree where he anally raped her. When it was over, she ran to the trailer and told her grandmother what her uncle had done to her.

She said her grandmother did not believe her and took a plastic stick used to clean chimneys and hit her across the back. The grandmother then washed her and put an adult nappy on her as she was bleeding. The woman said she wanted to go home to her parents, but her grandmother would not let her.

Garda statement

Michael Bowman, SC, for the first defendant, put it to the woman that her grandfather did not have a bike in the 1990s or 2000s, which she rejected.

Mr Bowman suggested to the woman that her grandfather never had a black car and did not do the things she previously described. She replied: “He did.”

Counsel then directed the court to the woman’s first statement to gardaí in July 2017. In this statement, the woman spoke of being raped by family members, but did not mention her grandfather. In the statement, the woman saidL “No one ever did this to me, only my uncle.”

The woman said she did not mention her grandfather because she was in fear.

The court heard that 10 months later, and on her fourth time speaking to gardaí, she made a complaint about her grandfather. Mr Bowman said to the woman: “When you spoke to the gardaí in 2017, what you said was not the truth?”, to which she agreed.

Mr Bowman put it to the woman that “nothing ever happened with your grandfather in both locations”, but the woman said: “No, stop it. Why are you doing this to me.”

Mr James McGowan, SC, for the second defendant, asked the woman if she remembered denying that any childhood sexual and physical abuse ever occurred in an assessment in 2011. She said she recalled the assessment but did not remember saying that.

Mr McGowan put it to the woman that she made an allegation of rape against her ex-boyfriend and his friend during another assessment in 2015. The woman said: “I didn’t want to tell the doctors who really done it to me.”

Mr McGowan said: “Just as you were able to make allegations in the past against your ex-boyfriend, you are making allegations against my client now.” The woman became emotional and placed her head in her hands.

Dominic McGinn SC, for the third defendant, put it to the woman that her uncle never lived at the site where she alleged the incident near the apple tree took place. The woman replied: “He did, he is lying.”

Counsel suggested to the woman that “the description of what happened in the caravan didn’t happen either”, and the woman replied, “I know it happened”. Mr McGinn suggested to the woman that her uncle “never did anything to you”.

Paul Murray SC, defending the grandmother of the first complainant, said his client instructs that she “never once hit you with a stick or anything else”, to which the woman replied: “She is lying.”

Mr Murray also said his client claims they did not camp at the locations mentioned by the woman in her evidence. He suggested to the woman there were no such conversations between his client and her about an incident with the third defendant.

The trial continues before Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring and the jury.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800-77 8888, access text service and webchat options at, or visit Rape Crisis Help. 

In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112. 

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