1 March 2024

~6 minutes read

Clifden man Martin Davis sentenced for sexual abuse of his three younger sisters in 1970s

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Clifden man Martin Davis sentenced for sexual abuse of his three younger sisters in 1970s

Three Galway sisters have described their older brother as a “vile human being, a bully, a monster and pure evil” after he was found guilty of abusing them in the 70s.

The Central Criminal Court heard that Martin Davis (67) of Churchill, Clifden, was found guilty of one count of rape and eight counts of indecent assault on unknown dates between 1971 and 1981 at an address in Letterfrack in Co Galway. Davis has no previous convictions.

Passing sentence today, Ms Justice Melanie Greally said: “It was evident that the offending by the accused has affected all three injured parties.” She noted the extreme trauma and deep pain present in their victim impact statements.

Ms Justice Greally said Davis maintains his innocence and does not accept the verdict of the jury. She said he is a married father of two, and she said she had read the sizeable number of testimonies which were handed into court previously.

The judge said the aggravating factors in the case were the abuse of three siblings over a prolonged period of time and the breach of trust, which was two-fold – the vile betrayal of his sibling and the breach of trust of his parents, who had entrusted them into Davis’s care. She noted the age disparity, that all of the offences were committed in the family home and the profound damage this abuse has had on the injured parties.

Ms Justice Greally said the mitigating factors were the absence of any previous convictions, the family circumstances, the contents of the character references, that Davis was in continuous and productive employment, his health issues and that he is now placed on the sex offender register.

Ms Justice Greally sentenced Davis to eight years in prison in total and backdated it to when he went into custody. The judge spoke to the three injured parties in this case, noting “this has been very difficult and bruising for you”. She wished them well for the future.

Speaking outside court, the three complainants – Carmel Connolly, Michelle Davis and Audrey Stanley – encouraged other people to “come forward and get support and not to leave it so long”. “There is help out there,” they said.

“We are so relieved to have the support and relief that somebody believed us,” they said, adding that the Gardaí in Clifden were “amazing”.

They thanked the special victim unit and the Director of Public Prosecutions office. “It wasn’t easy, but they made it a lot easier,” they said.

At a previous hearing, Detective Garda Michael Griffin told Roisin Lacey, SC, prosecuting, that in April 2018, Davis called to Clifden Garda Station to complain about an incident where he was verbally abused by his sister in a pub in Clifden.

Davis wanted the matter noted but did not wish to make a complaint. Gardaí called the home of his sister, Audrey Stanley, and she told them she had called him a “pedophile.” She told the Gardaí what she said was true and she made a statement to the Gardaí.

Det Gda Griffin said two other sisters of Davis also made complaints to the Gardaí. The court heard that Carmel Connelly was a younger sister of Davis. When she was 10 years old and her parents were not at home, she was brought to her bedroom by Davis, who climbed on top of her and raped her. She was crying and he told her to be quiet. She told him to stop, but he did not.

The court heard that Carmel was aged 10 at the time, and Davis was aged between 15 and 16. On a separate occasion, Davis again brought her to the bedroom and digitally penetrated her while he masturbated.

A second sister, Michelle Davis, described Davis as being a “bully to her”. When she was aged seven, she saw Davis’s car pulling up outside their house. She ran and hid behind a door.

Davis saw her and dragged her to a back kitchen, where he removed her underwear and inserted his penis into her anus. She screamed with pain.

Davis put his hand over her mouth to stop her screams. Davis was aged 23 at the time. On other occasions, he would get her to touch his penis, the court heard.

The court heard a third sister, Audrey Stanley, who was six years younger than Davis, was abused when she was nine years old. The abuse began with tickling games, and then Davis told her it was her turn and to rub her penis. Davis would also touch her genital area.

Davis was arrested and interviewed in September 2018. He denied all charges of rape and indecent assault. He told Gardaí that his sisters were motivated by spite as they had been excluded from their mother’s will.

Det Gda Griffin agreed with Philip Rahn SC, defending, that his client was a juvenile for the majority of the offending.

Carmel Connelly read her own victim impact statement to the court. “I was very happy and innocent, then I felt shame and fear, feeling I was to blame and unable to tell anyone,” she said.

“…I was abused by a monster,” she said, adding Davis was “a vile human being”.

She said that Davis has offered “no apology or remorse and continues to be a bully”.

“I can now get on with the rest of my life and grieve for my mum,” she said.

Audrey Stanley also read her victim impact statement to the court, which said: “I found it so traumatising to write this statement, and I called on mum and dad to help me; how I wish I had done that when I was a little girl broken by Martin.”

She said: “The only person I protected was him with my silence.”

“I not only let evil triumph, I let it thrive. And I will carry that guilt to my grave.”

“…The little girl inside me said ‘Don’t give in again’; this is your opportunity to tell what he did and let him know you haven’t forgotten.”

Michelle Davis’s victim impact statement was read to the court by a family member who said she has “suffered unbelievable emotional and psychological pain and struggled with depression and anxiety”.

She said Davis “got away with the crimes for long enough,” and “he will continue to impact my life, but I won’t allow him to torment me”.

Mr Rahn said his client has some health issues and handed a GP letter to the court. He also handed in testimonials from former employers, a former work colleague, two brothers-in-law, a sister-in-law, his son, daughter and wife.

He asked the court to take into account that his client was a minor during the period of time in relation to two of the complainants.

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