Claire Henry and Sonya McLean
A man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for the sexual abuse of his partner’s daughters and a family friend when the girls were children.
The Central Criminal Court heard that Trevor Richardson (49) of Church Road, Ballybrack, Dublin, was found guilty of 56 counts, which included one oral rape and the remainder sexual assault, by a jury in March of this year. The offences occurred between January 1st, 2000 and August 31th, 2014.
Aoife O’Leary, BL, prosecuting, told the court that the three victims, in this case, wished to have Richardson named and have waived their anonymity.
Passing sentence Mr Justice Paul Burns said Richardson was in a relationship with the mother of two of the girls, who considered him a “father figure”.
Mr Justice Burns paid tribute to the three victims for their courage in coming forward and seeing the trial through. He said there was a “protracted level of abuse” and a “breach of trust”.
The judge said Richardson has no significant previous convictions, a good work history and that alcohol abuse had been a significant part of his life which he would consider as mitigating factors in the case.
Mr Justice Burns sentenced him to 12 years in prison and suspended the final two years under strict conditions including that he place himself under the supervision of the Probation Services for three years post-release.
The court heard that Richardson was in a relationship with the mother of two of the complainants. The third complainant was known to the family and was abused by Richardson when she visited the home.
The court heard that the abuse took the form of touching the genital areas of the girls and digital penetration of the vagina.
On one occasion, Richardson put his penis into the mouth of his partner’s child. The woman later told gardaí that she believed she was between seven or eight years old at the time. She recalled scrubbing her mouth clean afterwards.
On a separate occasion, one of the girls woke in the middle of the night to find Richardson on top of her, rubbing himself off her. He would also place his hand under the duvet while they were on the couch watching TV and touch the girls in the genital area.
Victim impact statements were handed into the court. The woman who was forced to perform oral sex on Richardson, said her life had been “a rollercoaster” since the abuse started, with “more downs than ups”.
She said she “never felt beautiful just dirty” and described incidences of self harm when she was younger. She described getting aggressive when she was drunk and hoping she would get arrested “because I knew I would be safer”.
She said she would bang her head off the road so she would be hospitalised because again she would be safe there.
The woman said when she thinks of her own two children, she wonders why she could not have had a life like them. “Why me? What did I do that was so bad that God put me here to feel all this pain – a pain a child should never feel”.
She described how later when she got pregnant, she worried about keeping her child safe. She said Richardson asked if he could feel her bump and later watched her while she was breastfeeding, “he made me feel like it was a sexual thing”.
The woman described again incidences of self harm because “I needed someone to take the pain away”.
She said after she made her garda statement she struggled to say the word abuse out loud and she drank herself to sleep most nights. She described a sadness that the family had fallen apart.
This woman’s sister said she looked up to Richardson as a father figure. “My home should have been a place of home and security” but she said it was “sadness, anxiety and trauma, memories that I lived every day”.
She described staying out drinking rather than going home. She described Richardson as being aggressive towards her and how her friends would feel uncomfortable around him. “They said they didn’t like the way he looked at them”.
The woman said she felt uncomfortable around men and boys. “I genuinely felt all I was good for was sex. I thought I was no good, ugly and I had no confidence in myself”.
The third woman said that since the assault she suffered with anxiety, and she would be anxious that every drunk man she met “had the same mindset” as Richardson. She said she had a fear of leaving her daughter with men.
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.