A young woman who was repeatedly raped by her foster father has spoken out after he was jailed for 11 years.

Stephen Murray, of Humphreystown, Valleymount, Co Wicklow, was handed down the sentence yesterday for raping his foster daughter three or four times a week over seven years.

His victim, Kelly Kemmy, 24, who waived her right to anonymity, said he had raped her 1,000 times from the age of 11 until she was 18, turning her life into a "living nightmare".

Speaking to reporters outside the court, Ms Kemmy said she was happy with the sentence and would now like to more forward with her life.

"Today marks a small step forward in my fight for justice," she said and thanked her family and friends for their support.

She added: "While I live with this abuse for the rest of my life but some sort of justice was served today".

"I know first hand how difficult it is to come forward as a victim and I hope this verdict will be a ray of hope for all other victims of sexual abuse and they may come forward and have the strength to find their justice."

The 56-year-old accused pleaded guilty to 14 charges of rape, two charges of oral rape and one charge of sexual assault on dates between February 2009 and December 2015.

The plea was acceptable to the DPP on the basis they were sample charges.

Stephen Murray pleaded guilty to 14 rape charges, two oral rape charges and one sexual assault charge

Mr Justice Paul McDermott described what Stephen Murray did as an "egregious breach of trust".

He said Murray and his wife had been trusted with the care of this girl and her two siblings and throughout the abuse he was devious in keeping this a secret from his wife.

The judge said Murray's actions resulted in gross sexual abuse and it was evident from her victim impact statement that this had psychological effects on the victim and caused her physical and emotional pain.

He said it was a "terrible betrayal" of Kelly, her siblings and his wife.

The judge said the place where she should have felt safe and secure, her home and bedroom, became a place of repeated abuse.

He said her victim impact statement ended in an optimistic and hopeful way which showed her strength of mind and her determination to move into the next phase of her life.

But, he said, her statement also showed the depth of emotional and social damage done to her.

The judge said the aggravating factors were that the offences were carried out against a vulnerable young child in her own bedroom.

He said that Murray had inflicted terror, fear and isolation on the child, and that his empathy for the girl had only emerged recently.

The judge said Murray persisted with the abuse because he could and wanted to, even when asked not to by his foster daughter.

He said he had to take mitigating factors into account when deciding on a final sentence to hand down.

He noted the early guilty plea entered by Murray and his expression of shame and remorse, together with his good work history and positive engagement with the probation services.

He also noted that Murray has no previous convictions, is showing symptoms of depression and anxiety and his marriage has ended.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott said he was satisfied that the multiple crimes requested a headline sentence of 17 years in prison.

On the count of sexual assault, he sentenced Murray to seven years in prison.

On the counts of rape, he sentenced Murray to 12 years in prison with all sentences to run together concurrently.

He suspended the final 12 months, jailing Murray for 11 years.

In a victim impact statement, Kelly Kemmy said she was still uncovering the ways the abuse has affected her life and said she had been hurt "in a way that no human should".

"The abuse feels like a life sentence," she said.

Ms Kemmy said the impact on her from the abuse was "more than I ever imagined".

"It has torn me to pieces. My teenage years were dark."

She described feeling numb and said she did not want to exist, she was "ashamed and embarrassed".

She said she felt "trapped, helpless and frightened" and said she was too scared to report the abuse because of what may happen her younger brother and sister, who were also living in the foster home.

Concluding her statement, Ms Kemmy said: "I stand in front of you as a survivor... Today is when I start to live. I am determined that I will not let this define me".

The court heard that following an initial abuse of Ms Kemmy while in the sitting room of the family home, Stephen Murray would regularly come into her bedroom at night and rape her.

The other members of the family, including his wife, were often in the house sleeping at the time.

His marriage has since ended.

Ms Kemmy reported the abuse to gardaí in 2019 following a text conversation with the man when he asked her if they "could go again?"

She took this to mean that he was asking to have sex with her again.