A woman who was repeatedly raped by a family friend as a child has faced her abuser in court, saying, “he has no shame”.
Noel Kelleher (64) was found guilty by a jury of six counts of rape, three counts of sexual assault, three counts of oral rape and one count of attempted oral rape of his victim at various locations in Co Clare between June 1991 and August 1992.
Kelleher of Gort na hAbhna, Roslevan, Ennis, Clare, was found not guilty of a further 16 counts of rape, indecent assault and sexual assault by the jury following a Central Criminal Court trial last November.
His victim, who was aged between 12 and 14 at the time of the attacks, wished to waive her right to anonymity, the court heard.
Kelleher has an established auctioneering business in Ennis and has had an office in the county town since 1990.
Detective Garda Claire O’Shaughnessy told his sentence hearing yesterday (Monday) that Kelleher was a family friend of the victim’s parents. Kelleher, an auctioneer, was a “man of some standing” in the community, the court heard.
He was in his late thirties and married when he carried out the abuse.
The court heard the abuse started when the girl was aged 12.
Kelleher (pictured right) raped her, sexually assaulted her and forced her to give him oral sex on numerous occasions in two office locations, the court heard.
The abuse ended shortly before her 14th birthday.
The court heard she tried to kill herself on one occasion when she saw the man standing outside her school, smiling and waving at her.
The woman spent years just “functioning” and tried to block the abuse out of her mind, Det Gda O’Shaughnessy told the court.
However, after the birth of her youngest child, she suffered severe postnatal depression and memories of the abuse came “tumbling out”, prosecution barrister, Pauline Walley SC, said.
The woman has since spent time in psychiatric care and has attempted to end her life on several occasions, the court heard.
Photo: Noel Kelleher
Full story in this week’s Clare People