Friday 21 July 2017

Repeat rapist to appeal length of sentence

Fiach Kelly, Fiona Ferguson and Conor Gallagher

A SERIAL sex attacker who was jailed for life yesterday for raping a woman in the toilet of a fast food restaurant is set to appeal his sentence.

Mr Justice Paul Carney sentenced 27-year-old David Power, from Brittas, Thurles, Co Tipperary at the Central Criminal Court for raping a woman in the toilet of the Nenagh Supermacs two years ago.

But lawyers for Power last night told the Irish Independent that recent decisions by the Court of Criminal Appeal, where some sex offenders had their sentences reduced, have encouraged them to appeal.

Tony O'Malley, Power's solicitor, said that yesterday's decision was, in his opinion, too severe and that steps "will be taken" to reduce the sentence'.

Severity

"I think it is very likely that the severity of the sentence will be appealed," he said. "Given the recent pronouncements by the Court of Criminal Appeal, we feel there is merit in appealing."

Last month, the Court of Criminal Appeal reduced a life sentence for a 46-year-old serial paedophile for raping two boys to a jail term of 15 years. There was outcry when Philip Sullivan from Kildare had the last two-and-a-half years of his sentence suspended.

It followed a 2007 ruling when Judge Carney sentenced Gerard Kelly to life for rape, but the decision was then overturned by the Court of Criminal Appeal and replaced with a 13- year sentence.

Mr Power, who was previously a member of the Defence Forces, has already been jailed by Judge Carney for sexual assaults on women in Cork city in June and September 2000.

He pleaded guilty to the rape, which took place on January 28, 2007. He had consumed 15 pints of stout, six shots of Aftershock and a "cocktail of ecstasy and speed".

The court heard that the victim was on her way home from a nightclub with her boyfriend when she stopped at Supermacs to use the toilet. The woman said she was pushed inside by a man who grabbed her by the shoulders and turned her around as she opened the door of a cubicle. She struggled but could not get free and shouted for help but could not be heard above loud music in the toilets.

Power put his two hands around her neck and she managed to scrape his face before he pulled down her clothes and raped her. She said her head was down between the toilet and cubicle and she felt pain as he raped her again.

The victim told Mr Justice Carney the rape had affected her as "a woman, girlfriend, daughter, sister, friend, work colleague and human being".

Power read from a letter in which he told the victim: "From the bottom of my heart I am so sorry for what I did to you."

Elizabeth Power, his mother, told Mr Justice Carney that her son had been sexually abused as a child and as an adult and she was anxious that he receive therapy. "I am asking you as a mother to help my son. I am pleading with you."

Mr Justice Carney said he had already tried to help her son twice in imposing sentences for his previous sexual offending which might now be considered moderate. He called the attack, "planned, predatory and opportunistic" and said Power had a "proven and admitted propensity for rape".

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