A man who raped his teenage daughter throughout her pregnancy and while her two-week-old baby was in the same room has been jailed for 10 years.
43-year-old Jennifer Berry waived her right to anonymity so that 61-year-old Oliver Berry could be reported.
He was convicted by a Central Criminal Court jury of 104 counts of both raping and sexually assaulting her between December 1982 and December 1994 when she was aged between seven and 19 years old.
Berry of Newtown Lawns, Mullingar Co. Westmeath pleaded not guilty to all offences and was convicted following a trial earlier this year. He has two previous convictions for minor offences.
In her victim impact statement, Jennifer wrote that the first time she was ever abused by her father he took something from her, “her innocence and childhood”.
She said she found it “unbearable” to hear her mother giving evidence on her father’s behalf during the trial.
“Instead of trying to protect me, she protected him. She turned her back on me. I can’t understand how she could do this. I don’t know what I did to deserve two parents like that.”
Ms Berry said she was let down in the worst way she could be and she now finds it hard to trust people. She said she was in fear of her father. He told her that if she disclosed the abuse her siblings would be taken away and this was a big concern for her.
She described the behaviour of her father as the “actions of a coward, evil”. She said he must be “in some parts a sick man because I can’t think of how he could hurt me otherwise”.
She said that she hoped that she saved at least one person from going through what she did and reporting her father to the gardaí. Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy had adjourned the case having first heard the evidence two weeks ago.
She noted that Berry was 25 years old when he first abused his seven-year-old daughter and said on occasion he made her wear her mother’s underwear as “a prelude to rape”.
Ms Justice Murphy said that a year when Berry was out of work, Jennifer was raped most days when she returned home from school for lunch. On occasion when she refused to go home she was beaten up by Berry on her ultimate return from school.
She noted that he continued to rape his daughter while she was pregnant with her first child as he told the victim “the damage had now been done”.
The judge said that Jennifer believed that Berry was her son’s father until DNA testing during the garda investigation into the rapes confirmed her boyfriend at the time was the father.