A Lisburn man who subjected his own stepdaughter to years of rape and sexual abuse was jailed for ten years this week.
Self-confessed paedophile Noel Lowry (73) sat in the dock of Craigavon Crown Court with his head bowed as Judge Patrick Lynch QC told him it was clear he had been “manipulative, domineering and controlling” when subjected his stepdaughter to “sustained and cruel abuse.”
Jailing Lowry, the judge declared: “The court must reflect the indignation of society that such child abuse should continue for such a sustained period and have such an adverse effect upon your victim.”
As well as the jail term, of which Lowry will serve half and then spend the rest on supervised licence conditions, the judge ordered him to sign the sex offenders register for the rest of his life and imposed a ten-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order, barring Lowry from having unsupervised contact with children.
On the day his trial was due to begin last month Lowry, from Hilden Court, pleaded guilty to a total of 17 offences, some of them specimen charges, including seven of indecent assault and five of rape, between 3 July 1971 and 4 July 1985.
His victim has bravely waived her right to anonymity so that the full story of her horrific ordeal can be reported.
The court had previously heard how Lowry first began to abuse his stepdaughter when she was just seven or eight years old in 1971 and repeatedly raped her telling her “this is what daddies do” and that he was “preparing her for a man” in later life.
On Thursday, prosecuting QC Philip Mateer outlined how Lowry’s now 50-year-old victim remembered the first incident happened just before her First Communion when he took his trousers down before he “bounced her on his knee...and told her that all daddies so this.”
That abuse soon escalated to Lowry raping his stepdaughter “a couple of times a week” with the paedophile telling her he was “preparing her” for when she got married and that it was “our secret.”
As well as the multiple rapes, the victim was forced to perform sex acts on her stepfather and touch his private parts, said the lawyer.
Mr Mateer told the court: “From time to time she protested to him that she was his daughter, ‘stop doing these things’ but he told her that she wasn’t his daughter and he said to her that he was only taking a leaf out of her grandfathers book.”
The offence of child cruelty arose, said the lawyer when Lowry’s victim told her stepfather that her period was late so he “jumped up and down on her stomach.”
“One can only imagine what was going through his mind when he did that,” said Mr Mateer and today (mon) Judge Lynch commented it is “not hard to visualise or imagine what the motivation was behind that given the circumstances.”
The victims ordeal only ended when she met a man, who would later become her husband, and she told him what had been happening and then went to live with him, leading Lowry to write her a letter “cutting her off from the family and told her effectively that he had no daughter.”
Arrested and interviewed Lowry denied each and everyone of the allegations, labelling his victim as a “liar” and it was only when he reached “the door of the court” that he finally admitted his guilt.
Mr Mateer revealed that even now, according to the probation report compiled on the pervert, “he doesn’t seem to have any clue that his actions” have caused such devastating consequences for his stepdaughter who will need intensive one on one therapy to get over the torment she suffered at his hands.
The lawyer further revealed that Lowry, who has shown little empathy for his victim, has been assessed as posing a high risk to the public as he is highly likely to commit further offences.
Defence QC Gavan Duffy argued however that Lowry did not pose such a serious danger as he was an old man, had numerous health problems “and faces the very real prospect that he will die in jail.”
On Monday Judge Lynch said while it was open to him to pass a “longer then commensurate” sentence given the level of risk Lowry is believed to pose, he said he was satisfied that the extended period on licence along with the SOPO would suffice.
Turning to the mitigating and aggravating features of the case, the judge said it was clear Lowry’s deviant behaviour represented a gross breach of trust, had been perpetrated over an extended period and had caused significant and lasting damage to his victim while his “albeit late” admissions had saved her from the further trauma of having to give evidence and relive her ordeal.
Reading from the letter Lowry wrote to his stepdaughter when she managed to gather up the courage to leave her family home, Judge Lynch quoted: “I have cleaned away all your things - we don’t even want to have a picture of you about us. Do not call me daddy anymore, I have no daughter. She died on Friday 13th September 1985.”
The judge said of the letter it seemed more to have come from a “spurned lover rather than a father” and was evidence of Lowry’s “totally amoral and cruel attitude” towards his victim.
Speaking outside the court, Lowry’s victim said she was sure her “horrible...dangerous...predator” of a stepfather had other victims.
“I am just hoping that they will see what has happened today and come forward,” said the 50-year-old lady who had waived her right to anonymity so that Lowry can be named and shamed for what he forced her to endure.
“My childhood was hell, life was hell. If you imagine lying in bed, you just had this feeling that something terrible was going to happen and it was,” she recounted but is thankful that her tormentor will be behind bars “until he is almost 80.”
She asks rhetorically: “I could sit her and say I wanted 20 or 30 years but what good would it do? People will see what he had been doing and I’m just praying that other victims come forward.”