October 2015

Paedophile given 13-year sentence for rape of child

A man who was previously convicted for abusing his neighbour’s two daughters has been jailed for 13 years for the rape and sexual abuse of the same neighbour’s son.

The victim returned from Australia to attend his abuser John Gannon’s trial and sentencing.

Speaking outside the Central Criminal Court on Friday with his parents and sister by his side, the man said he was now considering remaining in Ireland, as “there’s no reason to run away anymore”.

Gannon (71) formerly of Bohea, Co Mayo, had pleaded not guilty to:

  • One count of indecent assault

  • Seven counts of sexual assault

  • Four counts of oral rape

  • One count of anal rape

  • One count of attempted anal rape

of the victim at his home and locations near his home on dates between 1990 and 1994.

The victim who was four years old when the abuse began and is now 28, also issued a statement in which he thanked the jury “for believing the truth of what I endured as a child at the hands of this so called human being”.

In 1995 Gannon was jailed for four years for indecently assaulting the victim’s two sisters between 1990 and 1994.

In 2010, after attempting suicide, he revealed to his family that he was also abused by Gannon in that time period.

During the trial he told Bernard Condon SC, prosecuting, that one of his sisters had a medical condition and her parents would bring her away for treatment, leaving the other children with Gannon. Abuse often took place when Gannon visited the bedroom where he slept.

Gannon also abused him in a shed used by local children to shelter when waiting for the bus to school. He testified that he was anally and orally raped there on multiple occasions. On one occasion he recalls a passing car preventing Gannon from carrying out an attack.

He recalled gardaí­ visiting his home to investigate his sisters’ abuse but being unable to say anything “for fear of John Gannon”.

When asked on how many occasions the abuse took place in the shed, he replied, “I can say right now it happened five times, six times but it probably happened hundreds of times. It was so long ago.”

In a victim impact statement read to the court by Garda Paul Lafferty, the victim said he had a good childhood until he was four years old when the abuse began and he lost his childhood “in the cruellest way”.

He said that Gannon was his father’s best friend and he looked on him as a father figure until the abuse began. He said he remembered “a summer day when I was playing on a digger outside John Gannon’s house” when Gannon took him to the bathroom and raped him.

“I cried out when he raped me. I always remember the pain, the fear and my backside being swollen afterwards,” he said. He remembered thinking that abuse must be normal and happen to everyone because it happened so often to him.

Sentencing Gannon to 13 years in prison with the final five years suspended, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said it was a “slightly unusual feature of this case” that Gannon had already served a sentence for abuse and been released into a community where he was shunned as a known sex offender.

Accepting “the change in situation brought about by the passage of time” as a mitigating factor, he said Gannon would have been in better health and in a better condition to face imprisonment had the complaint been made earlier.

He said it was clear that the victim was severely damaged by the abuse he had suffered and he hoped he felt vindicated by the jury’s verdict.

The victim thanked his family and friends for “the unconditional love and support they have shown me” and Garda Lafferty and An Garda Síochána, who he said were “shining examples of what public service truly means”.

“I have had to live with the hell of this man’s appalling crimes for many years. He sought to ruin my life and my family’s life. However he has failed for we are better and bigger than him,” he said.

Padraic Hoban’s statement

In the first instance I would like to take this opportunity to thank An Garda Síochána, and in particular Garda Paul Lafferty, for all their efforts throughout this lengthy ordeal for me. They have been shining examples of what public service truly means.

I would like to pay tribute to the diligence and hard work of the legal teams involved in the prosecution of this case.

I would also like to thank the jury for believing in the truth of what I had to endure as a child at the hand of this so called human being.

I would, however, most especially like to take this opportunity to thank my father, my mother my sisters and my friends for the unconditional love and support hey have shown for me.

I have had to live with the hell of this man’s appalling crimes for many years. He sought to ruin my life and my family’s life. However he has failed for we are better and bigger than him.

Justice has been served today.