A man who raped his victim for five hours after breaking into her house armed with a hatchet has been jailed for seven years at the Central Criminal Court.
The Cork man forced his way into the home of his ex-girlfriend and threatened to kill her by driving them both into the sea. He also cut her off her hair with a scissors because she wasn’t performing sexual acts to his liking.
At a sentencing hearing Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan was told the case is deemed by the DPP to “be at the higher end of the scale.”
Mr Justice Sheehan imposed a ten year term and suspended the final three years on condition that the rapist engages in the Building Better Lives programme for sex offenders while in jail.
The 53-year-old had initially denied the attack but later pleaded guilty to rape at the woman’s Cork home in the early hours of August 9, 2012.
The plea was accepted by the prosecution on the basis of full facts being heard concerning the other offences.
The court heard the man had been in a relationship with the mother of two but that she broke up with him because he was too possessive. She tried to cut all contact with him and refused to answer his repeated phone calls.
A local sergeant told prosecuting counsel Patrick Marrinan SC that several weeks after the break-up the woman was in bed when, at about 2.30am, she heard the sound of glass smashing and footsteps on the stairs.
The man had found a hatchet in the garden and used it to break the patio door window. He was also armed with a knife which he had taken from his home.
He entered her bedroom and was loud, aggressive and drunk. He shouted at her: “You wouldn’t talk to me so I’ve come to talk to you.”
He slapped her face several times before making her strip off her clothes. He then made her put on some underwear he took from her drawer. At this point the woman saw the knife on the ground and kicked it under the bed.
The attacker got on the bed and tore off her remaining clothes before beginning to sexually assault her. The man became extremely frustrated because he could not get an erection and started slapping the woman again and telling her to stop crying.
Over the next five hours he raped her multiple times vaginally, anally and orally. He would not let the woman out of his sight and followed her when she needed to use the bathroom.
At one stage he made her perform oral sex during which he told her she wasn’t doing it right.
He took a scissors and began to cut off her hair, telling her he would keep cutting until she did it correctly.
After several hours he began to sober up and threatened to kill the woman.
“I know I’m going to do time for this, I have nothing else to loose,” he told her. “I might as well kill myself and you.”
If I can’t have you, no one will; let’s go for a spin and we can drive off the pier.”
At about 7.30am she made him a cup of tea to calm him down and he began sweeping up the glass in the kitchen. He then left and the woman called the gardaí
Later that day officers found him at his home. He told them he was planning to come down to them.
The woman was taken for treatment. In a brief victim impact report she outlined the effect the attack had on her and said she couldn’t leave the house for five weeks. She has since moved away because of the incident.
Defence counsel Blaise O’Carroll SC said his client wants to apologise to the victim but is too shy to do it himself.
Counsel said the man was “very much in love” with the woman and they had great times together. He said he was “absolutely shattered and destroyed when the relationship ended.
Ellen O’Malley, CEO of the Rape Crisis Centre, said their main concern is for the victim.
“We hope the victim feels justice,” she told independent.ie
“This took enormous courage on her part in reporting the crime. This woman did society a service by reporting the crime. She has taken a danger out of society.”
Ms O’Malley said the case was unusual in that the details were read out in court.
“He did plead guilty and this means that she didn’t have to go through the court process but the prosecution did require to hear what happened and this is a horrendous ordeal for the woman,” she said.
“We don’t always hear the details of these crimes read out in court, but she was brave to stay with the course of criminal justice.
“I understand that he was sentenced to ten years but will serve seven years because he is going to take part in the Building Better Lives programme. Ten years is a serious sentence for this crime in Ireland,” she continued.
“A lot of serious sex offenders do not agree to take part in this programme. It is not an easy programme.”
By Conor Gallagher
If you've been affected by any of the issues above, call the Rape Crisis Centre national helpline (freefone) on 1800 77 88 88