A paedophile has been jailed for 25 years after being found guilty of sexually abusing six young people in a case going back to the 1980s.
Patrick O’Neill, 48, who comes from Ellesmere Port but whose most recent address was Blacon Avenue, Chester, was convicted in March following a trial.
He was found guilty at Chester Crown Court of a total of 26 offences against three females and three males who grew up in Ellesmere Port. The victims were aged between five and 18-years-old at the time.
The charges comprised seven charges of rape, 18 indecent assaults and a serious sexual assault.
Judge Patrick Thompson sentenced O’Neill to 26 years – a custodial sentence of 25 years with an additional period of one year on licence .
O’Neill’s offending spanned 23 years, from 1983 to 2006, starting when the defendant was 13-years-old until the age of 36.
He had denied any inappropriate behaviour with the complainants except one because aged 15 the defendant received a caution for indecently assaulting him.
Mark Connor, prosecuting, told the court about the life-long impact of O’Neill’s actions on his victims.
One female victim had ‘lost’ children because of her reactions towards them due to emotional instability.
She had suffered depression throughout her life and had self-harmed.
Another female victim said a consequence and a regret was not having a relationship with her siblings. Having suffered anxiety and stress all her life, she had been prescribed medication in the past.
The abuse had made her ‘over-protective’ towards her own daughters.
Tragically, the court heard one male victim had confided in the defendant that he was being abused by another male only for O’Neill to do the same.
This had led him to get into trouble as a youth, he had struggled with male contact and had trust issues. Again he was ‘over-protective’ of his children.
He had self-harmed and considered suicide when younger. In the past he had ‘lent heavily on alcohol’.
The prosecutor said one male victim felt ‘shame’ at what happened and had ‘tried to put things into a box’ but emotions surfaced in 2003 when he attacked O’Neill.
The abuse had caused a rift between him and his mother because he felt she hadn’t believed him.
He had experienced suicidal thoughts and had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Another male victim had been abused by the defendant from the age of six although the charges related to when he was a few years older. He had behavioural problems as a youngster which he blamed ‘on what was happening to him’. And he had developed into ‘a very defensive person’ as result of his experiences.
The final female victim was a ‘very damaged individual’ who had been abused by O’Neill from age five until she was 18. She found it ‘very difficult to relate to other people’ and in the past had behaved inappropriately as she was ‘not able to know where the boundaries are’.
She had suffered from anxiety, depression, PTSD, had self-harmed and was on medication.
Andrew Green, defending, began by stating O’Neill, who is married, was responsible for ‘a catalogue of very serious offences’.
His client, with a serious heart condition, understood he faced a ‘very substantial’ jail term. By maintaining the stance he had adopted in his trial there was ‘virtually nothing I can say on his behalf’, said Mr Green.
He added: “The best that can be said has already been acknowledged by my learned friend and by your honour in earlier discussions that a substantial number of the offences were committed when Mr O’Neill was a young person himself.”