May 2017

Limavady man jailed for abusing nieces in 1980s

A 65-year-old man who abused his two nieces when they were children has been given a nine-year sentence.

Gerald O’Hara, from Beech Road in Limavady, was convicted of a total of eight counts of indecent assault earlier this year.

The crimes took place over a seven-year period between August 1980 and August 1987.

One of the victims was 13 or 14, the other between 10 and 17. Both women have waived their right to anonymity.

One of the nieces was assaulted as she was babysitting in the defendant’s home.

The court heard how the girl had been asleep in the bedroom with the youngest child when the child started crying.

Mr O’Hara came into the room and rocked the child’s cot as he abused the girl. She was said to be 13 to 14-years-old when the assault happened.

O’Hara was also convicted of seven counts of indecent assault on the other niece when she was aged between 10 and 17-years-old.

The court was told that he assaulted her when she was standing at the kitchen sink, he assaulted her in the bathroom and he assaulted her when she was in a coal bunker.

One of the women told the court: “He always looked up and smiled at her as he abused her” and that “she just prayed for it to be over”.

O’Hara was sentenced to nine years, seven of which will be served in custody with a further two years on probation.

He was also put on the sex offenders register and is the subject of a sexual offences prevention order for five years.

May 2017

Man convicted of abusing nieces can be named for the first time

A man who was convicted of sexually abusing his nieces can be named for the first time after the victims waived their rights to anonymity.

Gerald O’Hara, 65-years-old of Beech Road, Limavady, was found guilty of eight charges of indecent assault by a Derry Crown Court jury earlier this year.

The court heard he abused two of his nieces when they around 15-years-old.

He abused one of the girls on just one occasion while she was babysitting his children.

The girl was staying in the house overnight and O’Hara came into her room and indecently assaulted her.

The second victim was abused on a number of occasions by the defendant.

The court heard some of the abuse took place in the kitchen and the bedroom of the defendant’s home.

O’Hara also abused the girl in a coal bunker attached to his house on more than one occasion.

During the seven day trial, the defendant claimed that the victims were ‘telling lies’.

The court heard that the abuse has had ‘long lasting effects’ on both of the victims lives.

It was also revealed they had both suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result.

A prosecution barrister said there were a number of aggravating factors in the case.

They include the number of victims and the protracted period of time the abuse occurred.

She added the abuse was a breach of trust, as the victims viewed their aunts home as a place of respite from their own home where there were a number of difficulties.

The barrister told the court the O’Hara’s house ‘ought to have been seen as a safe place’ for the victims.

Judge Philip Babington adjourned sentencing to consider the matter as it is not a ‘straight forward sentencing exercise.’

O’Hara was remanded in custody to appear in court again on May 23.