Londonderry Crown Court
Image caption Gerald O’Hara appeared at Londonderry Crown Court on Tuesday

A 65-year-old man who abused his two nieces when they were children has been given a nine-year sentence.

Gerald O’Hara, from Beech Road in Limavady, was convicted of a total of eight counts of indecent assault earlier this year.

The crimes took place over a seven-year period between August 1980 and August 1987.

One of the victims was 13 or 14, the other between 10 and 17. Both women have waived their right to anonymity.

One of the nieces was assaulted as she was babysitting in the defendant’s home.

The court heard how the girl had been asleep in the bedroom with the youngest child when the child started crying.

‘She prayed for it to be over’

Mr O’Hara came into the room and rocked the child’s cot as he abused the girl. She was said to be 13 to 14-years-old when the assault happened.

O’Hara was also convicted of seven counts of indecent assault on the other niece when she was aged between 10 and 17-years-old.

The court was told that he assaulted her when she was standing at the kitchen sink, he assaulted her in the bathroom and he assaulted her when she was in a coal bunker.

One of the women told the court: “He always looked up and smiled at her as he abused her” and that “she just prayed for it to be over”.

O’Hara was sentenced to nine years, seven of which will be served in custody with a further two years on probation.

He was also put on the sex offenders register and is the subject of a sexual offences prevention order for five years.

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