Northern Ireland

County Londonderry child sex abuser jailed for five years

DERRY Bishop's Street Court house
Image caption Doherty's victims said that they wanted him 'named and shamed'

A County Londonderry man who admitted abusing two girls over a seven-year period from 1973 has been jailed for five years.

Kevin Doherty, 61, from Main Street, Eglinton, was sentenced at Londonderry Crown Court.

He pleaded guilty to six charges of indecent assault and four charges of committing gross indecency with or towards a child.

The victims said they wanted Doherty "named and shamed".

The pair, who have automatic life-long anonymity, were in court for sentencing and spoke after Doherty had been jailed.

'Suffering in silence'

They said that the sentence had given them back their self-esteem and self-respect.

"We want to thank the judge for his sensitivity and for his sentencing comments which we believe are aimed at protecting vulnerable children from the type of sexual abuse we endured.

"We would also encourage other abused people who are suffering in silence, like we did for so long, to report their abuse to the authorities."

The court heard that Doherty's crimes began when he was 18 and the victims were aged six and 16.

When he abused his youngest victim over a prolonged period of time, the court was told that he gave her sweets and instructed her to say nothing.

The court heard that the abuse came to light at a meeting in a local parochial house in August 2013, which was attended by one of the victims, Doherty and by a local priest.

After the meeting one of the abused women went to the police, accompanied by a member of the Derry Diocesan Safeguarding team, and reported her abuse to the police.

Initially denied

In sentencing, the judge said the victims had been subjected to callous and shameful abuse.

He said the maximum sentence of two years, which was in force at the time of the abuse, was "clearly inadequate and a five-year jail sentence is both just and appropriate".

He added that while Doherty deserves some credit by pleading guilty, it took the accused two years to admit his guilt to offences he had initially denied.

The judge said it was clear from victim impact reports that both women still suffered the effects of the abuse.

He said he was also aware that four of Doherty's five children had refused to have any contact with him since he admitted the offences last January.

Doherty was sentenced to five years in jail, with two years on probation after his prison release.

He is also banned to associating with children younger than 16 for an indefinite period and that he must live at an address approved by social services after his release from prison.