A woman who was raped and sexually abused as a child by her godfather has been awarded €2.8m in damages in her civil action at the High Court.
Marcella Breslin from Killybegs in Co Donegal had sued Patrick Gillespie, 54, from Carrickmagrath, Ballybofey, Co Donegal, for the abuse which took place when she was aged between 12 and 16 years.
Ms Breslin’s barrister asked the jury to try to come to a figure that reflected "the horror story" of her early life. "You are trying to put a price on a stolen childhood," the jury was told.
Gillespie, who was her godfather and uncle-in-law, was jailed for seven years in 2008 after being convicted of rape and sexual assault.
The case came before a jury in the High Court for assessment of damages only. Gillespie was not represented in court.
Ms Breslin's barrister said she had been pinned down and raped over a period of months. Her teenage years had been obliterated.
In evidence, she told the court when she was 18 she was in New York when a retired garda approached her and asked her to sign a piece of paper saying she was dropping all charges against Gillespie.
She said she was "absolutely frightened to death to be followed to America".
Today the jury awarded the mother-of-three €2.8m in aggravated, exemplary and general damages.