A survivor of abuse, at the hands of a convicted Mayo sex offender who died in prison while awaiting sentence for offences against four children, has told a court she hopes he rots in hell.
73-year-old Michael Golden of Crosspatrick, Killala was convicted unanimously by a jury following a Central Criminal Court trial last month of seven counts of indecent assault, four counts of sexual assault and nine counts of oral rape against four children on dates between 1980 and 1997.
The children were aged between five and 14 at the time he abused them.
Michael Golden had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The court heard Michael Golden passed away in custody on the 6th of this month (June) and there will be a coroner’s inquest in due course.
Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring extended her condolences to Golden’s family and friends noting any person was more than the acts for which they were criminally liable, but said his death did not extinguish the women’s rights. “Clearly these women have the right to be heard,” she said.
Ms Justice Ring noted the women had thanked the gardaí who supported them but said the gardaí would not have been able to investigate unless people came forward.
She said it was only the fact they had spoken up that the process had come to this stage.
She said in explaining the sentencing process that would normally take place, that it was likely there would have been a custodial term of some significance. “But we have all been put in a position where that final step can’t be imposed,” she said.
The first woman outlined in her victim impact statement how she was glad they had got justice and wanted the truth to come out but after learning of Michael Golden’s death she felt he had taken the easy way out.
She said Golden, who she said was supposed to protect her, had used her for his own personal gratification and covered it up for years, making it out to be harmless fun.
She said the abuse still impacted her daily life and although she knows she did nothing wrong and was just a child, she still felt guilty for not reporting it.
She said the investigation and trial had been a hugely stressful emotional rollercoaster, describing how she felt the process had been dragged out with a fitness to be tried hearing.
She said she thought she would celebrate the guilty verdict but said there had been no celebrations just a night of tears before pulling herself together knowing no one had really won.
She said she could move forward knowing he would not abuse anyone again.
The second woman outlined in her victim impact statement how Michael Golden had shown no regret or sympathy and pulled “stunt after stunt” to delay the trial.
A third woman, described how she continues to suffer the effects of the abuse and is triggered by phrases Michael Golden used such as “our little secret” and “good girl.”
The fourth complainant, outlined how she continues to be impacted on a daily basis by the abuse and the trauma arising from it.
She said she feels in some ways she now has her life back and hopes from today to put this ordeal behind her.
Ms Justice Ring explained that in the normal course of events she would have heard submissions, and a plea in mitigation from Michael Golden’s legal team, as well as looking at reports and letters.
She said in looking at this case the mitigating factors were few and the aggravating factors many.
She said if he had survived and come to court he would have been returned to custody for a significant period of time.
Ms Justice Ring wished the women well and reminded them the gardaí could only do their job if people come forward.