A Lisburn woman subjected to 14 years of abuse at the hands of her stepfather has revealed the torment she went through.
Noel Lowry, 73, of Hilden Court, admitted to multiple counts of rape, indecent assault and child cruelty between 1971 and 1985 on his step daughter. Last month he was handed a 10-year sentence, half of which he will serve in prison.
Eileen Dunn, 50, has waived her legal right to anonymity to speak of the hell she was put through by a man who should have protected her. She was subjected to psychological torture, raped numerous times, sometimes multiple times in a week, Lowry told her, “it’s what daddies do”.
Eileen told UTV that the years of torture had scarred her for life. She was abused from the age of seven and looked on Lowry as a father figure, a bond which he exploited in the most sickening way.
He manipulated Eileen at every turn and constantly told her off.
“You were told to straighten your face before mummy came home. If you were lucky you got beat with the belt, or the motorbike helmet,” she said.
Eileen suffered two miscarriages. A third pregnancy was ended with a trip to England for an abortion, paid for by Lowry.
Eileen’s experience has left her in no doubt that abortion legislation in Northern Ireland must change. She believes victims of rape or incest should be allowed to have a termination carried out here.
She added: “The thought of having his baby - it was awful. It haunted me, because he raped me. I did not love him, I did not consent to it. I wanted to die.”
Eileen added: “I’m not proud of myself for what I did.
“I will take it to my grave, but I could not have lived with that child.
“I wouldn’t have been able to put the child up for adoption, because I don’t think that you should do.”
Eileen’s ordeal ended when she finally plucked up the courage to leave the family home after meeting the man she would marry.
Lowry was furious.
In a letter to her, he said: “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, 13 September 1985.”
Eileen took the decision to report her experiences after seeing a picture of Lowry. “You can get justice, peace of mind, closure for yourself.
“And if you can save one person, It’s worth it.”