Friday 26 May 2017

Man (42) found guilty of raping and threatening to kill his wife

Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy ordered the man be registered as a sex offender and remanded him in custody for sentencing on July 18 (Stock picture)
Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy ordered the man be registered as a sex offender and remanded him in custody for sentencing on July 18 (Stock picture)

Conor Gallagher

A 42-year-old man has been convicted of raping and threatening to kill his wife as their marriage broke down.

It is thought to be only the third successful prosecution of rape within a marriage since marital rape was made illegal in 1990. The woman wept in court as the verdict came in.

The trial at the Central Criminal Court concluded after jurors were unable to agree on verdicts on two remaining charges that the man head-butted his wife in May 2014 and threatened her in the city centre in early August 2014.

The 13-day trial heard the accused began threatening violence against the woman after she told him she wanted to separate in early 2014. The jury heard the relationship had been under strain due to the man's jealously of his wife's career and the attention she was giving their child.

The woman obtained a barring order against her husband the day after he raped her and threatened to cut her face open with a carving knife. But the threats continued over the phone and in person.

The 11 men and one woman returned staggered guilty verdicts over a two-day period having deliberated for a total of 11 hours.

They convicted the man of raping his wife in their home in May 2014 as their son slept downstairs and of threatening to cut her face. He was also convicted of threatening to kill the woman the next day over the phone.

Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy ordered the man be registered as a sex offender and remanded him in custody for sentencing on July 18.

The man denied the charges and told gardaí: "She's like a snake, she bites you and goes down again. She lies very well."

The defence questioning of the woman focused on why, as a strong, intelligent woman, she didn't leave her husband after he first became threatening.

Referring to an incident when the man doused the living room in lighter fluid, defence counsel Padraig Dwyer suggested it was like "something out of a horror film". Asked why she didn't leave and go to gardaí she said, "I've asked myself that question, I've asked myself that question about a lot of things."

The trial heard the couple were very happy at the start of their marriage and were both excited about the birth of their child. After the birth, the woman was appointed to a very senior position in her organisation while the man was out of work.

The accused told the jury "something changed" after the birth of their child. The victim said she wanted to separate in March 2014. She alleged in court that shortly afterwards he head-butted her in the kitchen during a row over their child's birthday. He claimed she hit her head off the press.

A few days later she returned to find the living doused in lighter fluid and her husband sitting in a chair smoking cigarettes while their son slept upstairs. She stayed up all night cleaning the house.

On one occasion, the accused became very aggressive and told her "I can do this if I want; I can rape you if I want." The rape occurred sometime after this on May 25, 2014.

She said he took up a knife and said he could cut her face open before pushing her upstairs and raping her.

The next day she went to the Family Court and obtained an interim barring order before going to her parents.

She said over the following weeks the accused seemed to know where she was at all times and she discovered a tracking app on her phone.

Irish Independent

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