Northern Ireland

Seamus Marley sentenced to seven years for sex offences against two boys

Seamus Marley (45) is originally from north Belfast's Ardoyne area but has an address in Dublin. Picture by RTÉ.
Seamus Marley (45) is originally from north Belfast's Ardoyne area but has an address in Dublin. Picture by RTÉ. Seamus Marley (45) is originally from north Belfast's Ardoyne area but has an address in Dublin. Picture by RTÉ.

Alleged IRA member Seamus Marley has been sentenced to seven years in prison for a number of sexual assault and rape offences.

Last month a jury unanimously found Marley (45) originally from Ardoyne area in north Belfast, but with an address at Belfield Court, Stillorgan Road in Dublin, guilty of sexually assaulting and raping two boys in Co Louth more than two decades ago.

A son of high profile IRA man Larry Marley, one of the masterminds behind the 1983 escape of republican prisoners from the Maze Prison, the offences took place while he staying at a "republican safe house".

Larry Marley was murdered by the UVF in 1987, after he was shot dead at the front door of his Ardoyne home.

Seamus Marley was convicted earlier this month of six counts of sexual assault and two counts of anal rape, which took place when he was staying in the area, and on camping trips he took with the boys, who were around 14 and 17 at the time of the attacks.

Yesterday Mr Justice Paul McDermott said that Marley "used his standing in a republican movement, which was well capable of clandestine killing, and through that he threatened one victim by saying: 'Touts end up on a border road'."

The judge added that Mr Marley's perceived status as an active republican may also have deterred the men making the complaint sooner as adults and caused considerable delay.

Justice McDermott also noted the violent nature of the attacks and that Marley had abused the trust of his victims, who said in their victim impact statements that their lives had been "torn apart".

At a sentencing hearing on Monday, both men gave victim impact statements detailing how their lives had been irrevocably changed by the events, sending them into a spiral of alcohol addiction and struggles with their mental health.

One man told the court that he had been a happy-go-lucky child, the "class clown", and a talented boxer before he was attacked.

He said he had woken up one night to find Marley pushing his face into his pillow and anally raping him.

He said Marley bought him expensive gifts, and was often determined to spend time alone with him, turning up at his school to walk him home, attending his boxing matches, and phoning the house the victim was staying in while he was on holiday in Co Donegal.

Justice McDermott said that he had taken into account the life Mr Marley had led in the time since.

"Mr Marley has no previous convictions, and undoubtedly suffered trauma in his teenage years after his father's murder," and that "he has contributed in meaningful way", through his charity work both in Ireland and abroad, his dedication to his church and his partner of 16 years, a Spanish man who was present for the trial.

He added however that as Marley had pleaded not guilty to the charges, there had been no sign of remorse.

Marley will also be under supervision when he leaves prison.

Mr McDermott added: "I'm satisfied that because he has no remorse, it is necessary for society to assure that rehabilitation is advanced to the greatest degree possible that he be subjected to two years' post-release supervision."