June 2021

‘Every time I went outside, there was a risk of being snatched as I played, and sexually assaulted’

The victim of an evil paedophile who has been jailed for sexually abusing her repeatedly when she was just eight years of age has said she is glad he is behind bars so he can’t molest other girls.

Francis Malone (54), from Kennedy Park, Wexford Town, was sentenced to two years jail at Wexford Circuit Court earlier this month after being convicted of six counts of indecent assault between 1979 and 1980.

Malone was just 12 years old when the attacks took place but the court ruled he knew what he was doing was wrong.

His victim, who described Malone as a “sneaky, manipulative and horrible” predator said that she was so happy when the jury found him guilty and is glad he is now behind bars.

“I was really happy when the jury came back with the guilty verdict given it was a really old case,” he said.

Given Malone’s age at the time of the attacks, questions arose in court about the age of criminal responsibility as under law at the time children under 14 were not criminally responsible for their crimes if they did not know what they were doing was wrong.

However, the court found Malone, who menacingly threatened his victim a number of times, was very aware that what he was doing was wrong. The court also heard he went on to commit other sexual assaults for which he was jailed.

The victim said she wasn’t disappointed that he was only sentenced to two years given the age he was when he carried out the offences.

“The law was a lot more complicated. His age had to be taken into account. It wasn’t about what length of sentence he did because it’s not going to a make a difference to my life. It’s more that he is behind bars for two years and can’t molest other girls.”

His victim also said she was glad Malone was being exposed for what he did to her. “The reason I went forward with it was so people would know.”

Malone denied carrying out the series of attacks and forced his victim to go through the added trauma of a trial.

Judge Cormac Quinn praised the victim for her bravery in coming forward and testifying about the horrific abuse she suffered at the hands of Malone.

The court heard the abuse started when Malone targeted the victim while she was at his house playing with Malone’s brother.

Malone sent his brother to the shops leaving him alone with the victim when he chased her and forced himself upon her, sexually assaulting her.

He targeted her again a second time in the house and tried to rape her before sexually assaulting her.

After that he started targeting her on waste ground as he pounced on her while she was on her way to or from the local shops.

She told how he removed her clothes during the attacks and she remembered how he slobbered red-faced all over her.

Malone did not take the stand during the trial.

The court heard the victim first came forward in 2018 when Malone was already serving a three-year sentence for a number of other sexual assaults.

He was serving his sentence in Arbour Hill when gardaí interviewed him about this case. He denied carrying out the attacks; however, a jury found him guilty on six counts earlier this month.

In her victim impact statement the woman said Malone “stole the innocence of my childhood, turning it from a safe place of sunshine, fairy tales, and red ribbons to a place of darkness, shame, and survival”.

“I had to become hyper-alert and so fearful at the age eight, because every time I stepped outside of my house, there was a risk of getting snatched off the street as I played, to be trapped, degraded, and sexually assaulted….used. Dying inside each time. I felt like I was prey, a small deer and he hunted me down on his bicycle, every time I went to the shop on errands for my mum.”

She spoke of how she had constant nightmares of Malone chasing her on his bike “laughing his evil laugh” as she ran as fast as she could to try to escape.

“Back then, after each time he did those things to me, I was left feeling so disgusting and dirty. I internalise those feelings and it made me feel like I was a disgusting and dirty person on the inside. I remember wishing I could unzip my body, step out of it, discarding it in the bin and getting a new body without any black sticky stain on it.”

She said she used to get angry at herself thinking if only she ran faster he wouldn’t have caught her but it was only after years of therapy that she realised he was always going to catch her.

She said what he did to her made her feel like she had no voice, no power or no choice.

“Every time I begged, pleaded, and screamed………NO ! STOP ! PLEASE LET ME GO…..he ignored me and took what he wanted because he was bigger and stronger than me.”

She explained how she has spent her life in a state of hyper-vigilance and sees potential threats everywhere and is very protective of her own children.

She also revealed that she sleeps with a knife under her bed in case someone comes in to attack her while she’s sleeping and when she’s staying overnight in hotels alone while travelling for work she barricades the door with chairs and her suitcase.

She added that she was overcome with joy when the jury found Malone guilty.

“I was so overwhelmed with happiness the other day when I heard the guilty verdict as it meant that 12 strangers thought that what he did to me, was not okay to do to me. I can eventually hand him back that black sticky tar stain… I hope I can reclaim space inside of me for different types of feelings. Hopefully, I can learn how to stop running.”

Judge Quinn commended the victim for her bravery. He said the court felt Malone displayed a level of maturity and understanding beyond the average 12-year-old of the time and did not go on to live a blameless life.

He sentenced Malone to one year for each of the six offences but ordered that five of the sentences run concurrently while one is to run consecutively, so that he will effectively serve a two-year sentence.