November 2018

Years of sexual abuse by father left his daughters broken

Image result for Patrick Byrnes - Castletroy

A retired taxi driver who sexually abused two of his daughters and raped one of them over a ten-year period has been jailed for six years.

Patrick Byrnes (78) of Castletroy, Limerick was convicted by a jury at the Central Criminal Court last July of 58 charges of indecent assault and two counts of rape on dates between 1975 and 1985.

He began abusing his daughters when they were aged around seven, the year of their First Communion.

The court heard they lived in abject fear of him and have been left broken by the decade of abuse.

Three of the indecent assault charges involved Byrnes encouraging the family dog to engage in sexual acts with one daughter. The court heard that he told the two children that he and their mother would split up if they told anyone about the abuse.

The father-of-nine denied all the charges and continues to deny them. Mr Justice Paul McDermott said that the case has split the family.

He said the daughters were repeatedly abused by their father and lived a life of “abject fear”. He abused them with impunity. He noted that both women said they were left broken by the childhood abuse.

The judge noted Byrnes also suffers from a number of health conditions including heart disease and osteoarthritis but there was nothing to suggest these can’t be addressed in prison.

He said that given Byrnes’ lack of remorse and his refusal to admit responsibility the only mitigating factors he could consider were his age. He said he might die in prison and he gave that serious consideration.

He set a headline sentence of nine years for the rape and six for the sexual assault but reduced these by one year to take account of his age.

He suspended the final two years of the sentence on condition that Byrnes is not in the company of any woman under the age of 18 unless accompanied by another adult.

All the sentences are to run concurrently.

Garda Tony Carmody told Gerry Clarke SC, prosecuting, that both complainants had waived their right to anonymity in order that their father, who they said they will never forgive, be named.