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The Irish Times has just published an extraordinary interview with the alleged father of Ann Lovett's child.
Richard Ricky McDonnell claims that he was in a sexual relationship with Ann Lovett 's and that the relationship ended some months before Lovett had the baby.
McDonnell was originally born in England to Irish parents but moved back to Granard with his mother when her marriage broke up. The mother moved back to England to look after her ex husband when he became ill. The husband subsequently died. McDonnell went to England for the funeral but decided not to stay with his mother. He moved back to Granard to the cottage his mother had been renting. He was 15, it was 1981 and he was living on his own.
That year he struck up a relationship with Anne Lovett when he frequented a local pub. Ann Lovett was helping her father, the manager of the bar. Anne Lovett was 13. The relationship became sexual after Anne Lovett turned 14. According to McDonnell, Ann Lovett's parents allowed Ann Lovett to stay overnight in McDonnell's house with no adult supervision.
McDonnell and Lovett broke up soon after Lovett's 15th birthday by which time Lovett was pregnant. Lovett never told McDonnell she was pregnant and denied to McDonnell that she was pregnant when he asked her about rumours circulating in the village that she was carrying his baby.
McDonnell alleges that both he and Lovett engaged in under aged drinking and Lovett's parents were aware of this. He also claims that he received a letter written by Anne Lovett shortly before her death indicating that she was suicidal and that Lovett deliberately went to the grotto to make a statement rather than going to hospital and asking for medical help.
It was obvious what she was going to do. She went up to the Palms, to the grotto, to have that baby. Ann wasnt stupid. She could have walked into any place, anywhere in Granard, and said, Im having a baby, and they would have called her an ambulance. Anybody ould have done that. Anybody thats logical would have done that. But she didnt. She went to the grotto. And she done that for a reason. That isnt an accident. This was not about her going off somewhere quiet on her own. That is not Ann Lovett. Thats not Ann. Ann could have gone to any woman in Granard. And they would have got her help".
So to me, this was a protest, on her behalf. Thats what I feel. I dont believe any other thing. Ann just wasnt like that. She could have got help anywhere, and she would have got plenty of help. This is well out of her character to do this. In the letter, she said she was sorry for what she was going to do. None of it adds up. I knew Ann better than anybody. And no way would she have gone to the Palms on her own, to have a baby, because she could have asked anybody for help, anybody, and they would have helped her. Its just unbelievable.
Did Anne Lovett get pregnant because her parents abdicated their responsibilities and allowed their fourteen year old daughter to carry on a sexual relationship with a fifteen year old?