December 2019

Dublin taxi driver, 84, who sexually abused adopted daughter jailed for three and half years

An 84-year-old taxi driver who sexually abused his adopted daughter over a ten-year period has been jailed for three and half years.

John Walker, described by his adopted daughter as “an evil man, a dangerous man”, was found guilty by a jury of 40 counts of indecently and sexually assaulting her over a ten-year period between 1990 and 2000, when she was aged between eight and 17 years old.

Jennifer Kelly waived her right to anonymity allowing her father to be named in reporting the case.

It took the jury just over two hours to return unanimous guilty verdicts on all counts following a trial in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last month.

In an emotional victim impact statement read out in court this week, Ms Kelly, said he had “no regard, no remorse, no humanity”.

Ms Kelly said: “I was your child – your little girl – and you manipulated and abused me for your own gratification.

“You were my dad but you are an evil man, a dangerous man.”

Ms Kelly said the memories of what her father did to her could never be erased from her mind.

She continued: “I am a victim of ten years of unrelenting sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of you, my father.

“The person who was supposed to protect me from the monsters was the monster.”

Walker, with an address in The Cova, Whitehall Road, Perrystown, Dublin pleaded not guilty to indecently and sexually assaulting his daughter at his home address and their previous home address at Kilmasogue Grove, Greenpark between June 1990 and April 2000. He has no previous convictions and maintains his innocence.

Sentencing him on Wednesday, Judge Patricia Ryan said she was taking into account the “very considerable harm done” and the fact that the abuse was pre-meditated and planned over a 10 year period.

She said threats were made by him to her “suggesting he knew people in high places” and that he “preyed on the vulnerability of an eight year old”.

Judge Ryan said his behaviour was “a grave abuse of trust, was predatory in nature” and Walker had shown no remorse.

The judge said she was taking into account the fact that Walker had no previous convictions, had contributed positively to society in the past, his medical conditions and his age before she sentenced him to three and half years in prison.

The court heard the abuse took the form of Walker repeatedly kissing and fondling his daughter when they were alone.

He called her a “slut” and on another occasion he threatened to throw her into the Liffey if she told anyone what was happening. He repeatedly told her no-one would believe her and that he would say she had started it.

The abuse ended when Ms Kelly confided in her brother’s partner on the night of her mother’s funeral in April 2000. She left the family home the following day with her brother. She disclosed the abuse to gardaí in February 2018.