Tuesday 12 December 2017

Caravan rapist who preyed on granny is jailed for 15 years

The Central Criminal court and inset Richard O'Brien
The Central Criminal court and inset Richard O'Brien

Declan Brennan and Isabel Hayes

A judge has jailed a rapist for 15 years, saying he needs to be removed from society until it's safe for him to return.

Richard O'Brien (57) lured a grandmother to a caravan in Dublin before raping her, assaulting her and biting her during a sustained and vicious attack on March 19, 2011.

He then fled to the UK before being extradited in 2013. Last July he was found guilty by a jury of rape, attempted rape, false imprisonment and assault causing harm earlier this year.

At his sentencing hearing last month Mr Justice Tony Hunt had him removed from court after O'Brien repeatedly interrupted proceedings, calling his victim a "filthy prostitute".

Yesterday Mr Justice Hunt said that the harm done by O'Brien to the victim was "very, very great indeed" with "long term, if not permanent damage".

He said that O'Brien had identified her on the night as someone who was a vulnerable person.

He had told her there was a party when in reality he was bringing her to an isolated caravan.

He was tempted to impose a life sentence so that O'Brien would be kept away from the public until the executive deemed it safe.

He said O'Brien was "a very serious threat indeed", but said his case fell just short of one where a life sentence should be imposed.

Imposing a 15-year prison term, Mr Justice Hunt said O'Brien will be in jail for a large part of his remaining life span.

"That's his fault. He needs to be removed from society until it's safe for him to return," he said. He said he was giving some allowance in his sentencing to O'Brien's age and his medical issues.

O'Brien, with a former address in Arlington Lodge, Church Street, Tralee, Co Kerry, had been sentenced in early 2015 after being convicted of separate offences of rape and false imprisonment carried out two months earlier.

He received a six-year sentence for that, backdated to the date of his extradition from the UK.

In a victim impact statement read out in court, the woman said she has had nightmares every night for the last five years. She said the attack led to the breakdown of her 23-year relationship and she had suicidal thoughts. She said her relationship with her children and grandchildren had suffered.

"For the last five years of my life I have been existing, not living," she said.

Irish Independent

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