Thursday 29 September 2016

Man jailed for 13 years for brutal rape of woman after he invited her over to 'help with painting'

Sonya McLean & Jennifer Ryan

Published 18/04/2016 | 17:15

The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin
The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

A man has been jailed for 13 years for the brutal rape of a woman four times having invited her to his home to help him with some painting.

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A victim impact statement said in the days after the rape she kept thinking “why did I not die that night? He should have killed me that night”. She cut herself with a small blade because it was “my way of taking some control back”.

“The best way to describe how I felt about myself at the time was that I was damaged,” the woman stated.

The 39-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reason, was convicted by a Central Criminal Court jury last February of two charges of rape, two charges of anal rape and assaulting the woman causing her harm at his Laois home on July 19, 2012. He had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy sentenced the man today to 14 years in prison with the final year suspended. She also handed down a three and a half year sentence for assault with the final six months suspended. All sentences are to run concurrently. The judge had previously declared the man a sex offender.

A local garda told Tim O'Leary SC, prosecuting that the woman told the jury during the trial that she had agreed to go to the man's house, whom she knew through his cousin, to help him with a painting job but he said it took “a nasty turn”.

“She was assaulted, threatened, removed to an upstairs bedroom, attacked and brutally raped,” said the garda.

He said after the first incident the woman was forced into a shower cubicle and washed down before she was returned to the bedroom again and raped.

She was then made shower again before the man instructed her to get dressed and led her out of the house.

The garda said the man brought the woman to her friend's home. This man was also the accused's man first cousin and it was he who had organised for her to help out with the painting job.

On route to the house the accused made her scrape her knuckles off a wall and told her that if anyone asked where she got her injuries from she was to say that she had been in a fight with another woman.

The man threatened to kill both her and her mother, if she didn't stick to this “fictitious story”, the garda said.

He said the woman was so frightened on the way to her friend's house, that even though two patrol cars passed her, she made no effort to flag them down.

She told people in her friend's house, under duress from the accused, that she had been in a fight and then asked to be brought home.

The following day her friend noticed very visible injuries to the woman's face despite the fact that she had tried to conceal them with heavy make-up. She reported the attack to the gardaí nine days later and the man was arrested on July 31, 2012.

He denied the allegations in a subsequent garda interview. The man was returned to Ireland on an European Arrest Warrant in 2014 from the UK.

A victim impact report said the woman had cuts and bruising to her face from the punches she received and had friction marks on her inner thighs.

She still suffered badly with nightmares, dreaming that the man had kidnapped her and raped her again.

She had panic attacks and outlined one such incident when she thought she saw the man in her local shopping centre. She described feeling as if she was in a strait-jacket, unable to breathe, unable to move and her friend had to bring her outside until she felt safe again.

Blaise O'Carroll SC, defending asked the court to take into account evidence during the trial from his client's mother about his difficult childhood.

He said his background, “led him onto many acts of criminal misconduct in the UK”; offences which counsel said the man had pleaded guilty to.

The woman said in her victim impact statement that she was stressed and anxious during the trial and she found it difficult to re-live the night and give that evidence with the man sitting very close beside her.

“I was being told I was telling lies, when I knew all along it was true. I really blame myself for it all, how stupid could I have been to think all he wanted was help to paint,” the woman said.

She said she found it very difficult to trust anyone since. She said a current boyfriend felt responsible and believed she didn't trust him. She described it as a heavy burden.

The woman said her self-esteem and her self-worth had suffered and she described her family and close friends as an amazing support.

“I can now start to really live my life again and I feel I can have a future,” the woman concluded.

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