Late Late viewers applaud Mary Manning for retelling harrowing story of abuse 1 year ago

Late Late viewers applaud Mary Manning for retelling harrowing story of abuse

"If the State had intervened, he would be in prison."

Viewers of last night's Late Late Show were taken aback by Mary Manning's story of harrowing abuse that she endured at the hands of her stepfather.


The Louth woman was physically and sexually abused by Sean McDarby for almost two decades.

Her stepfather had held her captive in a house in Castleknock for years, leading to him eventually becoming known as Ireland's Josef Fritzl.

The years of abuse led to the birth of Mary's children, two of whom joined her on the Late Late Show couch last night to recount the family's deeply upsetting story.

34-year-old Iseult, one of Mary's daughters, told Tubridy that her own relationship with McDarby was one of "dependency."

"If the State had intervened, he would be in prison," she said.


"He had control, he came into the house, we were very silent and very afraid, she would lock the door and she would try and get away from him.

"The State had let [Mary] down and we would like an independent investigation into why they allowed him to stay on the streets, why they allowed him to have the opportunity to come to us and attack us if he felt necessary."

Mary managed to escape McDarby and flee to the States, however she returned when she learned that three of her children had been taken into care.

She reported the abuse to the HSE in 1988 and to the Gardaí in 1994. The case never went to court and eventually collapsed in the mid 2000s.


McDarby passed away in 2009.

"My country let me down," said Mary. "My country failed me."

"He destroyed so many lives and has impacted so many lives (...) The really difficult piece is, while I absolutely love my children, he took away my ability to be a mother, he took away so much.

"There would be times when I see a resemblance (...) it's difficult."


Viewers applauded Mary's bravery for telling her story, and that of her children for their unwavering support towards their mother.