Saturday 10 December 2016

Man regularly raped girlfriend in her sleep, court told

Declan Conlon

Published 06/07/2015 | 17:03

The Four Courts
The Four Courts

A man who regularly raped and sexually assaulted his girlfriend in her sleep will be sentenced next Monday at the Central Criminal Court.

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The 25 year old Norwegian man pleaded guilty to one count of rape and one count of sexual assault of a 28 year old Irish woman between 2011 and 2012.

Sergeant Patrick Keegan told Mary Rose Gearty SC, prosecuting, that the victim first met the man in a bar on Dame Street, Dublin in 2011 and they began a relationship. They moved in together in December 2011, but she had problems with his masturbation and use of pornography.

His crimes first came to light in 2012 when the woman woke up to find herself wet with what she believed to be semen.

She confronted her boyfriend who admitted he had had sex with her while she slept. She told him that it was a problem but the relationship continued.

A few weeks later she woke with the feeling that she had been penetrated to find him masturbating and watching porn on his laptop beside her in bed. He later admitted that he had regularly raped and sexually assaulted her in her sleep, often while she was under the influence of medication. The relationship ended.

In a subsequent email exchange between the victim and the man in which she asked him to explain his actions, he made detailed admissions including raping her up to ten times and touching her in her sleep up to three times per week throughout their relationship. These emails became the basis of a gardaí investigation in June 2012 and his computer was seized.

In the email he admitted that he had raped her, saying “I guess it must be under ten times”. He also explained his behaviour, saying “it is really difficult. I did it for short term gratification. I convinced myself it was a victimless crime because you were asleep”.

“I didn't want to hurt you, I just wanted to come. I used the fact I wasn't allowed watch porn or masturbate as an excuse,” he said.

“Now I've written this, you can have me prosecuted. I hope you won't,” he said.

Reading her victim impact statement to the court, the woman said her life had been destroyed by the abuse. She said she had to give up her job and return to live with her parents. She had attempted suicide and she suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders and anxiety.

She said the man had been controlling and jealous of her relationships with her family and friends. He had “violated me in the sanctity of sleep and rest”, and that she was at first “fooled that it was not really rape because it didn't fit with how rape is often understood”.

She expressed anger that an earlier incident of sexual abuse she suffered as a child had been brought up by his legal defence as a contributing factor in her psychological problems.

She also criticised the legal justice system, saying there was “no regard for how difficult it is for a victim of any crime, let alone something an heinous as sexual crime to come forward and tell their story.”

Caroline Biggs SC, defending, said that the man and members of his family travelled to Ireland six times at great expense to cooperate with the Garda investigation. She said that psychological reports indicated he was at low risk of reoffending and feels genuine guilt and remorse.

She asked Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy to take into account his guilty plea and his admissions both in the email and to gardaí, without which the case would have been “all but impossible” to prosecute, she said.

Mr Justice McCarthy remanded the man in custody for sentencing on Monday July 13 next.

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