Monday 19 August 2019

'A sense of class in this case' - man jailed for 12 years for rape of teenage schoolgirl at birthday party

The judge said that there had been a sense that the victim was from a “good-for-nothing family”

Richard O’Mara (31), of Walnut Avenue, Kingswood, Tallaght, Dublin, at court. Photo: Collins Courts
Richard O’Mara (31), of Walnut Avenue, Kingswood, Tallaght, Dublin, at court. Photo: Collins Courts

Brion Hoban

A Clare man who twice raped a teenage schoolgirl at his sister's birthday party has been jailed for 12 years.

Richard O'Mara (31) with an address at Walnut Avenue, Kingswood, Tallaght, Dublin, had pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape at Ballymulcashel, Kilmurry, Sixmilebridge, Co Clare, on October 18, 2015.

He was convicted of both counts by a jury at the Central Criminal Court following a two-and-a-half-week trial in April.

Passing sentence Thursday, Ms Justice Burns described the offence as a “vicious, horrifying attack” in which O'Mara had used “deceit, violence and force to rape her (the victim) in the field”.

She said O’Mara had then subjected the woman to an “even more vicious rape” in his family house, in “a scenario that beggars belief”.

Justice Tara Burns sentenced O’Mara to 14 years’ imprisonment, but suspended the final two years on strict conditions.

The Central Criminal Court
The Central Criminal Court

She said that there had been a “sense of class” in this case, a sense that the victim was from a “good-for-nothing family” and could not be believed against “the likes of Richard O'Mara”. She said it was “clear that the O'Maras are wealthy people and have a fine house”.

Ms Justice Burns said that was not the way things worked and that nobody gets credibility from the stock they come from. She said the victim could leave with a sense of pride and her head held high for standing up for herself, praising her as a “very brave young woman”.

In her victim impact statement, which was read out in court on her behalf, the woman said she was so afraid of seeing the accused again that she did not leave her bedroom for two months.

She said that this was her first experience of sex and that O’Mara had “robbed” her of her virginity. She said she was bleeding for a week afterwards and that she hurt so much she did not want to use the toilet.

The woman said O’Mara took away her ability to trust her male friends and gave her panic attacks, nightmares and flashbacks. She concluded her statement by saying that O'Mara no longer had power or control over her.

Maurice Coffey BL, prosecuting, told the court that the woman wished for  restrictions to be lifted regarding the publication of O'Mara's name.

Garda David Lang told Mr Coffey that on the date in question the victim, who was aged 17 at the time, attended O'Mara's family home for his sister's eighteenth birthday party.

Gda Lang said the victim got talking to O'Mara, who was aged 27 at the time, and he led her by the hand out onto a public road. She asked where she was being brought and he said he was taking her to a friend's house.

O'Mara led her into a field and pushed her onto the ground. He held her down, took off her trousers and underwear and raped her. The victim was crying and shaking her head throughout and O'Mara whispered in her ear “I know you want it.”

Afterwards he told her not to tell anyone what had happened and they went back to the house to discover that most people had left and he said he could not order a taxi for her. She lay down on a couch in the living room and began crying.

O'Mara entered the room and sat down on the couch. He forced her head into the pillow, pulled her hair and told her to shut up. He then pulled off her jeans and underwear and raped her again, falling asleep after he was finished.

The following morning he ordered a taxi for her and again told her not to tell anyone what had happened. The court heard that the victim was in her final year in secondary school at the time of the offences.

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