Jury fails to reach verdict on ex-footballer charged with sex attacks

The jury in the trial of a former top-flight professional footballer accused of raping and sexually abusing his daughter over a three year period has been discharged after failing to agree a verdict.

The 68-year-old man, who previously played soccer professionally with a top English team, had pleaded not guilty to 80 counts of rape, oral rape and sexual assault on dates between 2003 and 2006 in the family homes in Galway and Roscommon.

The jury of eight men and four women at the Central Criminal Court spent over six hours deliberating before telling Mr Justice Peter Charleton they would not be able to reach a verdict on any of the charges. It was day seven of the trial.

Mr Justice Charleton thanked the jury for their time and attention before remanding the accused on bail pending the setting of a new trial date later this month.

The alleged victim had given evidence by video link that the assaults happened "once or twice a week" and later "turned into a daily thing".

She told prosecuting counsel, Ms Isobel Kennedy SC, that the assaults ended in September 2006 after the complainant’s mother found a letter in the girl's bedroom written by the girl, which detailed what had been happening.

The woman then confronted the accused and read out the letter to him. She said he was shocked.

When she asked him why he had done it he said he did not know and wanted to go to a doctor to find out why. She asked him if he had used contraception and he said "No, that's how stupid I am".

Giving evidence in his own defence, the accused said he previously admitted the allegations to the complainant's mother and gardai because he didn't want his daughter to "get into trouble for making false allegations."

He agreed with defence counsel, Mr Martin Giblin SC, that when confronted by the girl's mother about the allegations, he told her: "Okay, if you say I did that, then that's what I did."

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