A man who sexually abused and raped two of his sisters, his niece and later, his own two daughters, in horrific offending spanning four decades has been jailed for life.
Richard O’Brien (61) denied all the offences but was convicted unanimously by a jury following a trial earlier this year. His five victims indicated they have waived their right to anonymity so he can be named.
The Central Criminal Court heard the abuse of his two sisters and his niece occurred at his family home at O’Moore Road, Ballyfermot, and continued until each of the three women ran away as teenagers.
The women described growing up in a dysfunctional home where there was neglect, physical abuse and little point in disclosing the abuse they were suffering at the hands of their brother.
They outlined how terrified they were of O’Brien, who also physically assaulted them. His sisters told of how he had wrung the necks of a puppy and a kitten belonging to them during their childhood.
O’Brien went on to sexually abuse and rape his own two daughters until they were taken into care.
One of his daughters later told her foster mother that she had been sexually abused by her father and gardaí were alerted. Her younger sister, aunts and cousin also came forward.
O’Brien, of Cremona Road, Ballyfermot, Dublin 11, was convicted by a jury of 63 counts of rape, sexual assault and indecent assault against the five victims on dates between 1975 and 2011.
Passing sentence, Judge Mary Ellen Ring noted the harrowing evidence heard during the trial and the immense damage caused to each of the victims.
She told them they had nothing to be ashamed of and had done nothing wrong. “The only person in this courtroom who should be ashamed is Richard O’Brien,” the judge said.
She told them they should not worry what others have to say and reminded them that the 12 men and women on the jury had believed their evidence.
She told the older women that despite what had happened to them as children and without parental role models, they had become wonderful mothers and grandmothers and this was a terrific achievement.
“Stop giving time and head space to Richard O’Brien,” she told them.
She added they had achieved so much against the odds, the time is now to let those achievements in and their brother out, wishing them all well into the future.
Turning to O’Brien, she noted he had abused a position of trust as an older brother, an uncle and a father. She noted he was facing the remaining years of life and had medical issues.
She took into account medical reports and letters from family members handed into court.
Ms Justice Ring noted O’Brien had shown no remorse and no acceptance of his offending. She said the offending against his two daughters had been “at the very apex” of the serious offence of rape.
She said by the time he began abusing his own daughters, he was an adult, perhaps damaged by neglect but now building own family, and he had made a conscious decision to rape and sexually assault his own flesh and blood until social services intervened.
She said there was a continued failure on his part to recognise the damage done.
Ms Justice Ring imposed a life sentence in relation to the rape offences committed by O’Brien on his two daughters. She imposed concurrent sentences totalling 11 years in relation to the other offending.
The sentences will commence from when O’Brien went into custody in March.
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 drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help.
In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112.