COURT TOLD OF SIS­TERS’ EIGHT-YEAR OR­DEAL OF ABUSE

FOR­MER WEX­FORD STREET SWEEPER WHO MO­LESTED THREE YOUNG SIS­TERS FOR EIGHT YEARS TO BE SEN­TENCED THURS­DAY

Wexford People - - FRONT PAGE -

A RE­TIRED Wex­ford street sweeper who sub­jected three young sis­ters to eight years of sex­ual abuse will be sen­tenced at Wex­ford Cir­cuit Court this Thurs­day.

72-year-old John Nu­gent, of 35 Bar­rack Street, pleaded guilty to 38 counts of in­de­cent and sex­ual as­sault, hav­ing faced 105 sam­ple charges. The re­main­der were taken into con­sid­er­a­tion.

The three vic­tims, who were mo­lested be­tween the ages of six and twelve, wept as their vic­tim im­pact state­ments were read out in court last Fri­day. ‘I would see him on the town, I would feel in­tim­i­dated and ashamed, but he is the one who should have felt ashamed and dis­gusted,’ said one of the vic­tims in her state­ment.

The abuse started in the late eight­ies as the sis­ters car­ried out er­rands for Nu­gent, who was in his for­ties at the time.

On one oc­ca­sion he lured one of the girls into the house by pre­tend­ing he had her lit­tle sis­ter in­side.

On an­other he warned his vic­tim not to tell her par­ents as they would ‘die of shock’ if she did.

A 72-YEAR-OLD Wex­ford town man who sun­jected three young sis­ters to sex­ual abuse over an eight-year pe­riod is due to be sen­tenced at Wex­ford Cir­cuit Court this Thurs­day.

For­mer Wex­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil street sweeper, John Nu­gent, of 35 Bar­rack Street, faced 105 sam­ple charges of in­de­cent as­sault and sex­ual as­sault of the girls be­tween 1987 and 1995. He pleaded guilty to a to­tal of 38 counts with the re­main­der taken into con­sid­er­a­tion.

The court was told that his vic­tims had de­cided to come for­ward af­ter suf­fer­ing years of tor­ment as a re­sult of the abuse, with one of the sis­ters even con­tem­plat­ing sui­cide.

Wex­ford Cir­cuit Crim­i­nal Court was told on Fri­day last that the abuse oc­curred in the home of the de­fen­dant who lived alone, The vic­tims would un­der­take er­rands for the man while their mother car­ried out cook­ing and dust­ing for him.

The court heard that Nu­gent mo­lested the three girls when they were as young as six, and it con­tin­ued up un­til they were 12. In a vic­tim im­pact state­ment one of the sis­ters de­scribed a pat­tern of abuse which would oc­cur ev­ery two to three days un­til she was eleven.

One of the vic­tims de­scribed how she was ‘daddy’s girl’ but that ‘fol­low­ing what had hap­pened to me I was no longer able to ac­cept my daddy’s hug. ‘When I was grow­ing up I was al­ways told to re­spect my el­ders but there were peo­ple out there who did not re­spect chil­dren.’

A sec­ond vic­tim de­scribed how she had night­mares ‘of him, his house, of my mam and dad who had died’.

‘I also took tablets hop­ing I would never wake up. I would see him on the town, I would feel in­tim­i­dated and ashamed, but he is the one who should have felt ashamed and dis­gusted. He should have felt ashamed and dis­gusted at hav­ing stolen my child­hood. I got mar­ried and had chil­dren, but promised this would never hap­pen to them.

‘One of the big­gest turn­ing points was when he turned up at the wake when my dad died. I was glad my dad never knew what had hap­pened. He came over to shake my hand but my brother re­moved him. Later when my sis­ter broke what had hap­pened to my mother, she was shak­ing. She had to be se­dated.

‘To­day I feel lonely, there is an empti­ness in­side me, I have no con­fi­dence and un­able to re­tain re­la­tion­ships. At times I feel de­pressed, feel numb, sui­ci­dal, feel as if I can­not take any more, I have felt sui­ci­dal but would not con­tem­plate car­ry­ing this out be­cause of my chil­dren.’

One of the sis­ters said she was mo­lested be­fore her First Holy Com­mu­nion and de­scrib­ing a pat­tern of abuse twice a day.

As the vic­tim im­pact state­ments were read into court by Pros­e­cut­ing Counsel, Sinead Glee­son, on Fri­day, Nu­gent’s vic­tims sat to­gether and wept, sup­ported by fam­ily mem­bers.

The court had al­ready heard har­row­ing ev­i­dence from Garda Bren­dan Leamy who in­ter­viewed the three sis­ters and the de­fen­dant.

It was re­vealed that Nu­gent had told the sis­ters: ‘No one will be­lieve you. Your mam and dad will die of shock if you tell them’.

At the time of the abuse, the girls lived nearby and ran er­rands for Nu­gent, who was then in his 40s. They would call and col­lect money be­fore walk­ing to the shop to buy cig­a­rettes for him.

In a state­ment made at Wex­ford Garda Sta­tion to Garda Leamy in 2014, one of the sis­ters said that on one oc­ca­sion Nu­gent pre­tended he had her youngest sis­ter, who was just a tod­dler, in his house in or­der to scare the girl and lure her in­side to pro­tect her sis­ter from him.

She said: ’But she wasn’t in there and then he locked the front door and put the keys in his pocket. He grabbed me and threw me down on to the sofa and I hit my head off some­thing. He told me there was no point in fight­ing it, that this is go­ing to hap­pen. He said if I let him he wouldn’t touch my sis­ters. Be­fore he said that I was scream­ing, cry­ing, and say­ing,”let me go”, but then I just lay there.

An­other sis­ter said: ‘I re­mem­ber my Com­mu­nion and feel­ing so special, like a princess in my dress. The feel­ing of be­ing special was re­placed by fear. He stole my child­hood and any good mem­o­ries I had.’

Ms Glee­son, for the pros­e­cu­tion, said the court could im­pose up to ten years on the in­de­cent as­sault, with five years on the sex­ual as­sault charges. Philip Shea­han, for the de­fence, ar­gued that the de­fen­dant had no pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions, and that his age should be taken into ac­count, as he will carry this stigma for the rest of his life and have his name on the Sex Of­fend­ers Reg­is­trar. He said that while two re­ports be­fore the court sug­gest a risk of re-of­fend­ing, it should be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion that Nu­gent is in the lat­ter part of his life.

Mr Shea­han said the de­fen­dant had worked up to re­cently as a coun­cil em­ployee sweep­ing the roads.

He said that the de­fen­dant’s fa­ther had died when hewas at a rel­a­tively young age and he was reared by his mother on her own. He had at­tended St. Joseph’s School in Clon­mel due to his re­luc­tance to at­tend school. He worked in Eng­land for a pe­riod, and later re­turned to Wex­ford, where he got mar­ried late in life.

Mr. Shea­han said Nu­gent lives with his wife, but at one point had lived with his sis­ter when he was ejected from the house when the mat­ters be­fore the court first came to light. His wife’s chil­dren from a pre­vi­ous mar­riage had shunned him.

Mr Shea­han said that his client had en­tered a guilty plea and was un­der no il­lu­sion that a cus­to­dial sen­tence would fol­low. The con­se­quences for him are clear, he is go­ing to prison, he said be­fore ask­ing the court to take into ac­count the length of time since the of­fences,

Judge Cor­mac Quinn said there were a num­ber of re­ports to ex­am­ine. Re­mand­ing Nu­gent in cus­tody, he said he would deal with sen­tenc­ing on Thurs­day (November 16).

The vic­tims asked that re­port­ing re­stric­tions be lifted so their abuser could be named, but said they did not want their own names re­leased.

John Nu­gent leaves Wex­ford Cir­cuit Court.

John Nu­gent leaves Wex­ford Cir­cuit Court on Fri­day.

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