A woman who was raped and sexually assaulted by her father during more than a decade of abuse has spoken out and said he had ‘stripped me of my childhood’.
Sophia Murphy, now 33, waived her anonymity after her father John was jailed for 18 years for the ‘horrendous’ sexual abuse of his daughter from the age of three to 15.
Former Defence Forces member Murphy, 61, pleaded guilty to the rape, indecent assault and sexual assault of his eldest daughter at locations in Co. Galway and Co. Mayo between 1988 and 2001.
He also admitted to a final incident of sexual assault of Ms Murphy in 2010.
In her victim impact statement, which she read to the court, Ms Murphy said that she wished to go public to encourage other people in her position to come forward. She told the Central Criminal Court
Silence protects the abuser and imprisons the victim. Take back your life; break the silence. You are not a victim for sharing your story; you are a survivor.
Addressing her father during her statement:
Dad, you stripped me of every human right, my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my confidence, my innocence, my childhood, my education, my teenage years, a normal life, even my own voice – until today. There is not a day in my life I don’t remember you abusing me.
Her father, formerly of Nephin View Manor, Foxford, Co. Mayo, is currently serving an eight-year sentence in Arbour Hill prison in Dublin, for sexual abuse involving Ms Murphy’s two younger sisters, imposed last February at Castlebar Circuit Court.
Ms Murphy, now aged 33, was aged between three and 15 years of age at the time of the majority of the offences. She has waived her right to anonymity so her father can be named.
Jailing her father, Mr Justice Michael White noted the ‘length, intensity and depravity of the sexual abuse’.
He said the Garda evidence and Ms Murphy’s victim impact statement had been ‘harrowing and exceptional’.
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He said Ms Murphy had shown ‘remarkable lucidity’ in her victim impact statement and was a ‘very dignified person’ who had overcome the abuse to become a loving mother and partner and take up fulfilling employment.
Outlining the aggravating factors, Mr Justice White took into account the impact of the abuse on her and the particularly serious nature of the abuse, perpetrated over a period of time. He said Ms Murphy had great love and affection for her father but hated what he was doing.
Mr Justice White said that taking into account the depth, length and nature of this abuse, the headline sentence – before taking into account the mitigating factors – had to be life imprisonment.
The judge said in his view, Murphy’s remorse was genuine and he had acknowledged the great hurt he had caused his daughter.
He noted Murphy’s guilty pleas and his serious health problems.
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Mr Justice White imposed consecutive sentences totalling 18 years, which were backdated to when Murphy went into custody in December 2017.