A West Donegal pensioner assured his victim that his vile sex crimes were natural while he carried out his attacks.
74-year-old Crolly man John Barrow was today found guilty of indecently assaulting the then teenager.
Barrow was sentenced to six years in prison, with the final two years of the sentence suspended at a sitting of Donegal Town Circuit Court this afternoon.
A Victim Impact Statement heard how the victim had lived his life in constant fear, felt constantly ashamed, had no self-worth, felt safer in groups of people, lived in fear after school hours, woke at night due to nightmares and turned to drink as a result of the abuse.
The victim, who wished not to be named, said in the statement that John Barrow had assured him that what was happening to him was natural.
“Everybody does these things behind closed doors,” the statement read.
The victim said that it was on the final occasion “that my head was numb and the penny dropped”. The victim turned to drink: “The more I drank the more depressed I got,” the statement added.
The man who wishes not to be named, is now in his 40’s and still suffers from panic attacks as a result of what happened to him.
“I hope I can start trusting others some day,” the statement read. The man thanked counsellors at the White Oaks rehabilitation centre and at the Rape Crisis Centre for their help.
Today’s sentence follows a previous trial in which Barrow was found guilty of the attacks.
Barrow had denied sexually assaulting the boy, then aged 14, between 1989 and 1990 during a three-day trial at Letterkenny Circuit Court.
The jury of five women and seven men took just 57 minutes to reach a
unanimous guilty verdict on all six charges.
After the man was found guilty, the court heard how the man had one
previous conviction for a similar offence.
The victim, who is now in his 40s, said both he and his attacker were interested in flying and how he ended up in the man’s house looking at flying magazines.
However, he claimed Barrow then locked the door and indecently assaulted him.
Once back at the man’s home, he initially showed the teenage boy some
flying magazines but then began to show him pornographic magazines.
The alleged victim then gave evidence that his alleged attacker locked
the door and took him to his bedroom.
It was here that the man claimed he saw his alleged attacker, carry out a sexual act with a hoover.
The man said “He dropped trousers and at the end of the bed there was
a hoover. The nozzle was taken off it and he said look at this.
“He stuck his penis in and he began turning on and off the hoover. He
said “This is like a woman’s vagina. I couldn’t understand it or get
my head around it.
“He then pulled down my tracksuit bottoms and touched my penis and he
continued masturbating himself. I couldn’t get an erection.
“He was moaning and his face was getting purple. When he ejaculated he
came over to me and said that is how you know you’re a real man. He
said it would come to me and that I would get an erection.”
The alleged victim also claimed that on another occasion his attacker
used a lubricant before inserting a candle into his alleged victim’s
The man said he felt like he was being torn every time he went to the
toilet and was also passing blood for a week afterwards.
He said he later became dependant on alcohol and would often drink a
bottle and a half of whiskey “raw’ each day.
“All I want is closure and that is why I am here today. All I wanted
to do with my life was to move on,” he said.
The court heard the accused was interviewed under caution after
presenting himself at a Donegal Garda Station in December 2014.
After his arrest, he was interviewed twice and he denied the
allegations made by the complainant.
In the interview, the accused denied that the alleged victim had ever
been in his house.
He denied the allegation that made by the alleged victim on the first
day of the trial that he had committed a sex act with a hoover in
front of the boy.
“That is totally untrue,” he said. “I would never do anything like
that with a hoover,” he said.
He also denied showing the boy pornographic magazines in his house.
“It’s pure fabrication. I don’t remember him ever being in my house.”
He said in the interview that he would have had “the odd porn
magazine” in his house for his own reading.
The accused said the only sexual encounters he had in the house were
with a female and were consensual.
In a second interview, he again denied taking ever taking the boy back
to his house.
He also denied committing a sexual assault on the teenager with a candle.
“There is not one ounce of truth in that. He was not in my house.”
The court heard that gardaí carried out a search of the accused’s
house following the interview.
The investigating garda, who is now retired, told the court the layout
of the house was very similar to what the alleged victim had
Today, at sentencing in Donegal Town courthouse, Judge Cormac Quinn said during his sentencing that it was clear that Barrow did not accept the unanimous verdict of the jury,
He said that the aggravating factors were: the young age of the boy; the age of the accused at the time who was in his 40’s; the nature of the abuse; the fact that the boy was told not to tell anybody and that the abuse was premeditated.
The judge noted the age of the accused, the references handed into court on his behalf and that the accused had said he was willing to attend courses.
Barrow was sentenced to three years to run concurrently on the first three counts, he was sentenced to four years to run concurrently on the fourth and fifth counts and sentenced to six years on the final count.
The final two years of the six years were suspended on the condition that Barrow enter a bond to the sum of €200, to be on good behaviour from the date of his release from prison, to complete a sex offenders’ course either in prison or within two years of his release and to be under the supervision of the probation services for a period of two years after his release.
Barrow is to attend all appointments with the probation services and is directed to attend any course that they recommend he should take.
Liberty was given to the probation services or gardaí to re-enter the case should Barrow fail to adhere to the conditions outlined by the judge.
His name will be added to the sex offenders’ list.
Legal aid was granted to include senior counsel in the event of an appeal.Tags: