29th June 2022
Irish paedo guilty of molesting four girls & suspect in over TEN more cases takes own life before jail term handed down
A MONSTER who took his own life before he could be jailed for the horrific abuse of four girls molested more than TEN other victims.
The Irish Sun can reveal dairy farmer Michael Golden, 73, from Crosspatrick, Killala, Co Mayo, is suspected of targeting other children during a four-decade reign of terror that ran from the 1960s to the 1990s.
But it was the brave decision of four of his victims — who were aged between five and 14 when they were abused — to come forward that eventually led to the beast’s downfall.
And we can also reveal how the predator tried to have the charges against him dismissed with a series of fabricated claims — including that he had “dementia” — after he was charged.
His attempts to have his court case dismissed ended in failure when, on May 10, all ten jurors convicted him of seven counts of indecent assault, four counts of sexual assault and nine counts of oral rape on four children between 1980 and 1997.
But the coward — considered by some to be an “upstanding” member of the community and an award-winning farmer — took his own life in Portlaoise Prison on June 6 thereby avoiding a jail sentence of between 15 and 20 years.
In an exclusive interview with The Irish Sun after his sentence hearing last Friday, one of his victims told how he was convinced he was “untouchable” as he preyed on innocent children.
She said: “He was revered in the community because of his role in farming and adults trusted him.
“When we were in his house he would tickle us in front of adults but his other hand would grab us in an inappropriate way.
“There was also a long corridor in his house which was dark and if you went down it was terrifying to think he could be there waiting for you.
“He thought he was invincible and untouchable and when we look back it’s clear to see that he was grooming us from a very young age.
“My life will never be the same again. He was looked up to by so many in the community, his manipulation ran deep but he’s finally seen as the disgusting paedophile that he was.”
We also spoke to another of his victims, who thanked the Garda investigation team for their support and dedicated efforts to secure justice.
She said: “I know of at least four other victims, but there are undoubtedly more out there. There’s no way he stopped in 1997.
“Michael was more like a wolf in sheep’s clothing — he led a mundane life as a dairy farmer but he hid in plain sight to pounce on his victims.
“Following his death it feels like he’s won — he’s left everyone else to deal with his actions. He’s been operating in the shadows for years and I firmly believe he started when he was young.
“I had viewed the sentencing as my day of closure — to hear the length of time he had been imprisoned for, knowing that it would probably be for the rest of his life, and knowing he had to live with the shame of being branded a sex offender where everyone would know the truth about him.
“To hear people describe him as a wonderful man and a gentleman only caused more pain.
“I want the truth about him to come out — I hate him for taking the easy way out and I only wished he did it after the sentencing. I hope he rots in hell.”
DISMISSED ‘FUN AND TOMFOOLERY’
Today we reveal never-before-seen images of the coward, including the most recent image of him.
Complaints were first made against Golden in 2001 but there was not enough evidence to bring the case before the court.
But in 2013, two of the girls bravely made statements, before his other victims came forward the following year.
The statements were made to Detective Garda Michael McGrath, who worked under the command of Supt Joe Doherty and Supt Gary Walsh.
As the investigation continued, Golden was arrested in 2017.
We can also reveal that during his five interviews with gardai, he accused his victims of “talking nonsense” and dismissed his heinous crimes against the children as “fun and tomfoolery”.
A file was then sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions who ruled in August 2018 that he should be charged with 20 offences. Once charged, he remained on bail until he was due to stand trial on December 2, 2019.
Following the start of the trial, he tried to have the case dismissed on the grounds that he was “a dumb mute”, was “sick” and “unfit” to stand trial.
Other stalling tactics included him trying to have two trials — one for one set of his victims and one for other children.
Gardai believe he did this to increase his chances of evading justice as there would have been fewer witnesses giving evidence against him.
But Judge Mary Ellen Ring dismissed his application, insisting that all charges would run together.
Over the course of the next three years, he claimed that he was suffering from dementia — despite regularly being seen working on his farm.
He was eventually declared fit to stand trial with his hearing starting on April 25 this year, when he pleaded not guilty.
Even so, he still tried to stall the trial by claiming he had fallen off his roof.
At the end of his trial, he was found guilty on all charges on May 10. And, although he took his own life, his victims still had their day in court last Friday when their powerful victim impact statements were outlined.
Ms Justice Ring also told the court how “these women have the right to be heard”.