Tuesday 22 August 2017

Man filmed himself sexually assaulting heavily pregnant girlfriend while she slept

Stock picture
Stock picture

Isabel Hayes

A man who drugged his heavily-pregnant girlfriend and filmed himself sexually assaulting her while she slept will be sentenced next month.

The Dublin man (53), who can't be named for legal reasons, was found guilty by a jury last month of three counts of sexually assaulting his partner by touching her on three occasions in November 2014.

The jury of six men and six women was unable to reach a verdict on two further allegations that the man raped his partner in December 2014, shortly before she was due to give birth to their second child.

The man pleaded not guilty to all charges. He faces a retrial on the rape charges at a later date.

Garda Brendan Harte told the Central Criminal Court on Monday that the man was arrested in January 2015 and his phone was examined.

Gardaí found three video clips, ranging in length from 31 seconds to 57 seconds taken in the middle of the night on three different dates in November 2014. The woman was eight months pregnant at the time.

Gda Harte said the videos, which were shown at trial, showed a man sexually assaulting the woman as she slept in the bed beside him. A torch was used to illuminate the assault.

The victim identified herself in the video and the man admitted he had taken the video. He claimed it was consensual.

“The accused told her he had drugged her on occasion because he thought she needed sleep,” Gda Harte said.

In a victim impact statement read out by prosecution barrister Eileen O'Leary SC, the woman (40) said she felt “humiliated” by the assault.

“I feel degraded,” she said. “It's a weird feeling watching the videos of me when I'm asleep.

“I won't be trusting anyone in a relationship, at least not for a long time. I was always a very chatty person, but not anymore. Since these assaults I've had a breakdown and I've been taking anti-depressants.”

She said she was now a single mother. “It's not what I wanted.”

The court heard the man has three previous convictions, including burglary and careless driving. He denied in court that he had a previous conviction for abusive or threatening behaviour.

Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy adjourned the matter for sentencing on February 6, when she said she would hear further evidence on his previous convictions.

Defence barrister Blaise O'Carroll SC, said the sexual assaults should be “seen in the context of a relationship that lasted four years”. The man and woman had consensual anal intercourse during their relationship, he added.

Mr O'Carroll said the man was a “loving father”. He also submitted it was not possible to infer the jury accepted the man drugged his partner when they found him guilty of sexual assault.

However, Ms Justice Murphy rejected this, saying: “The evidence was he told her he drugged her, not only to give her as good night's sleep, but he drugged her to do things to her.”

The judge said the man, who took the stand during the trial, was “very knowledgeable about drugs”.

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