Friday 26 December 2014

Sex assault victim angry over ex-mayor's jail release

Published 20/08/2014 | 02:30

Provision 221113
Former Lord Mayor of Cork John Murray leaves Cork Court after being found guilty
Pic Michael Mac Sweeney/Cork Courts
Former Lord Mayor of Cork John Murray

A WOMAN sexually assaulted as a teenager by a former Lord Mayor of Cork has expressed outrage at the news he is to be released from prison after eight months.

Veteran Labour Party official John Murray (83) was convicted of five sexual assault charges last December and sentenced to four years in prison with three years suspended.

His victim, who cannot be identified, said she was shocked when told the former politician and businessman will be released tomorrow having served eight months.

"When all of this started, we didn't know if he would ever do time. The only thing we wanted was to see justice done. I wanted to be believed," she said.

"Despite the sentence he was given, he is now going to get out after having served less than nine months," she added.

The young woman said that her life was permanently altered by what Murray did to her - but he can now look forward to resuming his old life in Cork.

"I think he will go back to enjoying his life. He is still fit and healthy and will probably go back visiting all his favourite parts of the city."

The young woman said she was taken aback by the amount of the sentence suspended for reasons including Murray's age and health - and the fact he then qualified for a reduction in his sentence for good behaviour in jail.

"I just don't understand the system. I was told he was going to serve a year in prison and yet, despite all the years being suspended from the original sentence, here he is about to be released after just eight or nine months. It doesn't seem fair.

"In my honest opinion it is not right - it seems to make a joke of the entire justice system and particularly what victims have to go through."

The young woman said her fear now is that she will accidentally meet Murray on the street.

The victim repeatedly broke down during the trial as she outlined how the assaults occurred after Murray told her she was "a very beautiful girl" and that he "would love to f*** her".

She said the abuse "tainted her" and transformed her from a happy, outgoing teen with lots of interests to a withdrawn, isolated, and angry person.

"I felt intimidated by him... he was a former Lord Mayor and a very prominent person in Cork society. I felt scared and worried that I would not be believed," she said.

A jury convicted Murray, Cork's Lord Mayor in 1993/94, on five of the six charges after deliberating for over six hours.

He was found not guilty on a sixth charge.

The former Lord Mayor remained emotionless as he was led away to begin his sentence.

Judge Sean O'Donnabhain remarked that the former politician had shown little remorse towards the victim.

The girl said she was left shocked and frightened by the assaults which happened in Murray's car, in a pub toilet and at another premises in Cork.

Murray, of 17 Gregg Road, Cork, vehemently denied all the charges over various dates between 1996 and 1998.

The first incident occurred three years after he was Lord Mayor.

Murray operated a successful taxi business until he was 78 and was involved in Cork politics throughout his life.

He was first elected to the then-Cork Corporation in 1985 and lost his seat in 1999.

Irish Independent

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