A remorseless paedophile pensioner from Ballynahinch, Co Down, Northern Ireland, has been handed maximum jail sentences for the historical sex abuse he inflicted on two young victims.
Story by Paul Higgins, Belfast
Judge Piers Grant jailed 70-year-old Christopher O'Hare for a total of six years at Downpatrick Crown Court on Monday, for seven offences of indecent assault and six other similar offences.
The judge told O'Hare, who rejected the jury's findings and still denies any wrongdoing, he was imposing the maximum sentences because the consequences for one victim her were so cataclysmic that he deserved a "significant custodial sentence".
At the end of his trial last February, the jury of six men and six women deliberated for around three hours over two days before returning to find O'Hare unanimously guilty of a total of 13 counts of indecent assault - six against one victim and seven against another.
In relation to the second victim, who was abused on various dates between 1 April 1986 and 1 March 1990, the jury found him unanimously not guilty of four counts of rape and three further charges of indecent assault.
After some further deliberations, the jury also acquitted O'Hare of four more counts of indecent assault but were "hopelessly split" on the last remaining charge.
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For the first victim, her ordeal began in 1977 and only stopped in 1981 when she told her abuser what he was doing "wasn't right" so he stopped.
She testified that O'Hare "regularly" touched her inappropriately over her clothes as part of a “game” but that he also touched her under her clothing.
The deviant's second victim recounted how O'Hare also subjected her to numerous and regular bouts of inappropriate touching when she stayed at his home and the pervert sneaked into the room to abuse her.
During police interviews and while giving evidence on his own behalf, O’Hare denied each and every allegation, claiming his victims were lying as a result of a grievance against him.
On Tuesday Judge Grant said there were numerous aggravating features to the case not least that O'Hare had abused two victims over a prolonged period of time, had abused the trust which had been placed in him and had left his victims suffering from devastating, life-changing consequences.
According to the reports compiled on O'Hare however, he had "no insight or remorse" into the damage he has caused and still maintains his innocence.
Judge Grant said "one can only hope" that now the trial was over "and she has the benefit of knowing that the jury believed her that that will have a cathartic effect" on her long term treatment and recovery.
The only mitigating factor was O'Hare's clear criminal record but the judge told him that given his crimes "that is of little weight".
As well as the jail term, Judge Grant imposed a lifelong Sexual Offences Prevention Order, barred O'Hare from working with children and ordered him to remain on the police sex offenders register for the rest of his life.