A JUDGE has sentenced a serial burglar to 12 years for a rape during a home invasion but suspended the final three years on condition he completes his Leaving Certificate.
Gerard Kane (36) was on bail at the time for a previous burglary of the constituency office of former Fianna Fail minister, Barry Andrews. He received a two-year sentence last July for the break-in.
Kane threatened to bury the rape victim in the back garden and said he would hang himself if she went to the gardai. During the ordeal he went to the bathroom and returned with “white powder” on his bottom lip before raping the woman again.
As he was leaving, he made her promise not to call gardai, gave her a hug and asked for her number so he could take her out to dinner.
Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan said the victim was an “excellent witness” who showed “great resilience” but that this did not lessen the impact of the court process on her.
He said the victim had undergone “huge suffering” from the ordeal and having to come to court to recount the experience.
The judge said that Kane’s guilty plea five days into the trial was of little value except that it was accompanied by an expression of remorse. He noted Kane has spent most of his adult life in prison but has no previous convictions for sex crimes.
He imposed a 12-year sentence but suspended the final three years on condition that Kane completes two years of study for his Leaving Certificate and then an additional two-year educational course.
While the judge was imposing the educational requirements, one of the victim’s supporters remarked from the body of the court: “Maybe he’ll get into Trinity.”
At a hearing last month the court heard how the victim still has nightmares and flashbacks to the night Kane raped her and that she sometimes imagines a man standing at her bedroom door.
Kane, formerly of Dominic Street, Dun Laoghaire, had previously pleaded not guilty to raping her at her home on June 17, 2011. During his trial he changed his plea to guilty after five days of evidence.
Garda Adam Clear told prosecuting counsel Fiona Murphy BL that Kane has 26 previous convictions including nine that were dealt with in the Circuit Court. These include burglary, drug possession, threats, robbery and assault.
In a victim impact report, the woman told the court that the week after the break-in was the worst of her life because she thought Kane might return and kill her, “like he said he would.”
She said she became paranoid and anxious and was forced to take sleeping tablets.
Kane’s defence counsel Conor Devally SC said his client had a chaotic upbringing and that his mother was an alcoholic. He said he showed some promise as a footballer but fell into drug and alcohol abuse in his mid-teens.
Counsel said the attack was “opportunistic” and not pre-meditated. He submitted that Kane is “somewhat institutionalised from years in prison” and that he has tried and failed to get treatment for his drug addiction.
Gda Clear told the court that the woman was alone in her apartment at 1.30am when she was awoken by a door squeaking and jumped up in bed.
She saw Kane standing in the doorway with socks on both hands which were held up covering his face and he was carrying a hammer, screwdriver and small torch.
She was shaking and terrified and started shouting: “Who is it, what do you want?”
Kane told her to calm down and said he wasn’t going to hurt her before demanding to know where the safe was.
The intruder spoke to her for some time and said she kept telling him: “Please go, you said you would not hurt me.” He told her he would not leave until she was relaxed because she would call the gardai.
Kane got into bed beside her. He kept telling her not to look at him and he would not leave until she was asleep. She said he smelled of drink.
He asked her for a kiss and began touching her before raping her.
She said afterwards she wanted a drink and he followed her to the kitchen saying there was probably a phone line in there. She again asked him to leave but he told her he would not leave until she was asleep.
Back in the bedroom Kane told her he was afraid of hearing about this on the radio and mentioned burying her in the back garden. She said she took this as a threat to kill her.
She lay on the bed and he went to kiss her but she moved her head away. “I was shaking and terrified” she said, “I was afraid not to do what he told me.” Kane then raped her again.
Afterwards, Kane began talking about fixing the broken door downstairs and putting the tools back into the shed outside.
He told her he would take her word for it that she was an honest girl and would not ring the gardai. He asked for her phone number and said he would like to take her out to dinner before hugging her and leaving.
The woman said she ran upstairs and rang her employer who arrived and took her to his house. They later went to the garda station and to the Rotunda Hospital.
Later that month she went to a garda station where an informal identity parade was arranged and she picked out Kane as the man who had been in her house.