Father forced daughter to go through two trials after raping her as child

A father who raped his daughter when she was between four and eight years of age still denies his sickening crimes after putting her through two criminal trials.

jury found Patrick Shiels (66) guilty last May, but it was heard in court this week that the Co Laois man does not accept the verdict.

It was the second time that a jury had found him guilty after a trial last year saw him sentenced to 10 years, but the conviction was overturned on appeal and a re-trial ordered.

It meant his daughter, Marlene Prakash-Shiels, who waived her right to anonymity so he could be named, had to go through the ordeal of a second trial at the Central Criminal Court.

At the sentence hearing this week she read her victim impact statement in court, in which she told how she came under pressure to drop the charges.

Ms Prakash-Shiels said she was asked not to pursue the case as it would bring shame and embarrassment to the family.

She was also asked to “take pity” on her father due to his alcoholism, but this had the effect of placing the burden of his actions on to her.

Ms Prakash-Shiels said her father had shown “no remorse or recognition of what he has done” despite being given many chances.

After the re-trial in May, Patrick Shiels was found guilty of oral rape and four counts of sexual assault between September 2000 and December 2004 at his then address in Togher, Portlaoise.

He was also found guilty of two charges of child cruelty by forcing the victim to drink alcohol and to watch pornography.

Ms Prakash-Shiels had been put into foster care after her mother had died tragically in 2001 and arrangements were made for her to visit her father.

Evidence was heard that the sexual assaults took place while she was lying on a bed in a mobile home where her father lived.

Shiels also made his daughter watch pornography with him and forced her to commit sexual acts on him.

Described in court as an alcoholic, he also made his young daughter drink cider on one occasion.

This week Ms Prakash-Shiels said in court she hoped it would be the last time she would “see the face of the person who had caused so much destruction” in her life.

She told how she spent her teenage years feeling “broken inside” and still suffers “devastating and horrific” flashbacks.

She has been working with professionals to get her life back.

Shiels’s actions conditioned her to believe she could not reach her potential, however, she said she stood in court a person who is “not a failure”.

Ms Prakash-Shiels said many people had let her “slip through the cracks” and certain family members overlooked what was happening to her as it did not affect them directly.

She said she had one parent who had passed away and a second who is alive but “dead to me”.

She had created her own loving family and wants her children to know that their mother will always protect and love them.

She said she feels only pity that he has “no one but alcohol” and will never have the chance to meet her amazing children.

Ms Prakash-Shiels said she wished her father and her biological family all the best, but they are no longer part of her life.

In her previous victim impact statement after the 2021 trial, Ms Prakash-Shiels told how she decided in 2016 to report the abuse she had suffered.

“In 2014 my life changed for the better and I became a mother at 18 years old,” she said.

However, she said becoming a mother “intensified feelings about the abuse” which she struggled to cope with.

Just days before her daughter’s first Christmas she took an overdose but was lucky and survived.

After her release from hospital, she said: “I made a promise to myself that once I got stronger I would report my abuse to the guards for my daughter’s sake and I did this in 2016.”

Mr Justice Tony Hunt said there was little room for mitigation besides the lack of previous convictions, as Shiels does not accept the jury’s verdict.

He will be sentenced later this month.

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