Father lined children up and beat them

Bishop Street Courthouse.
Bishop Street Courthouse.

A Co. Derry man who “lined his children up like mini soldiers” and beat them was jailed for ten and a half years when he appeared at the Crown Court in Londonderry.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victims, also sexually abused his daughter.

He pleaded guilty to seven charges of indecent assault, three of child cruelty and two of common assault, which were committed between May 1979 and March 1994. The victims were his daughter and two sons. The physical and sexual abuse was reported to police in July 2013.

The court was told his daughter reported that her father would “line us up like mini soldiers” if they had done anything wrong and beat them, using his hands, a wooden brush and a poker. They would be left with bruises and black eyes and she was also sexually abused by him, forced to perform oral sex and he would grope her. He threatened to kill her if she did not do as she was told. The sexual abuse ended in 1989, when she was aged 15.

The brothers reported the physical abuse and, although there was social services involvement, he warned them if they said anything they would “get the poker”. One of the sons said he was so badly beaten he could hardly move.

Defence counsel said the defendant had led an otherwise blameless life asked for credit for his guilty plea.

Judge Philip Babington said the children were systematically beaten and noted the sexual abuse was “particularly violent and disgusting”.

Placed on the sex offenders register the defendant is subject to an indefinite Sexual Offences Prevention Order.