Man jailed for sexually abusing 11 year old boy in the 1980s

Galway Daily courts Man charged with possessing images of child sex abuse
credit: Robert Linsdell CC BY 2.0 'The Courthouse, Courthouse Square, Galway'

A paedophile has been sentenced to four years in prison for sexually abusing a boy who was 11 years old in Galway city back in the 1980s.

Anthony Spellman (53), who lives in Cheshire, England but resided in Galway at the time, was found guilty of 20 counts of indecent assault for sexually abusing a boy between June 1984 and January 1986.

He was sentenced at Galway Circuit Court after being convicted at trial last November. Mr Spellman’s barrister said that his client still does not accept the verdict of the jury.

During the trial for these crimes the Circuit Court heard that Spellman, who was 18 and 19 at the time these offences took place, frequently abused his young neighbour in then his home at McHugh Avenue, Mervue.

The victim said during the trial that Spellman abused him in multiple locations in the house: under the stairs, the bathroom, and in a chalet in the back garden.

He said that the abuse involved kissing, masturbation, and oral sex over the course of two years until the Spellman family moved in early 1986.

The acts were “opportunistic” he said, adding that it could happen every few days, or weeks could go by between incidents.

He tried to block this out for decades he added, but decided in recent years that he had lived with it for long enough.

Anthony Spellman denied that any of this took place, saying that his father did not let other people into their house as it was extremely crowded with nine kids and his parents residing there at the time.

During the trial the jury was unaware that he had already been convicted of abusing a boy who was seven years old at the time, and was currently serving a prison sentence for that.

He had first been given a wholly suspended sentence at Galway Circuit, but that was appealed by the Director of Public Prosecutions as too lenient.

In 2018 the Court of Appeals sided with the state’s view, sentencing Mr Spellman to spend two years in prison, with another portion of the sentence suspended.

At sentencing Judge Rory McCabe said that the abuse was aggravated by the protracted period of time over which it occurred.

He added that that they offences were incrementally worsening over time, and Spellman’s behaviour showed signs of “grooming”.

The judge said that an overall sentence of four years in prison would be appropriate, giving Spellman a total of 16 months on counts 1 to 18, and another 16 months consecutive on each of counts 19 and 20.

There was no scope for suspending any part of the sentence, Judge McCabe said. The sentence was backdated to November 22, when Spellman was convicted.