Saturday 16 December 2017

Ex-mayor was 'in fear of life when he admitted sex attack'

John Murray outside court – he has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault.
John Murray outside court – he has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault.
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A FORMER lord mayor said he was in fear of his life, and acting under duress, when he told a teenage girl's family that he had touched her private parts.

Veteran Labour Party official John Murray (83) wept as he said he was sickened and disgusted over claims he sexually assaulted the teenage girl after she said he whispered he would "love to f***" her.

Mr Murray, who served as Cork's lord mayor between 1993 and 1994, sobbed as he said he suffered such acute stress and panic attacks over the allegations that he ended up in hospital for two weeks.

The revelations came on the second day of Mr Murray's trial at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

Mr Murray, of Gregg Road, Cork, denies all the charges which relate to various dates between 1996 and 1998.

The charges are all brought contrary to Section 2 of the Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act, 1990.

He confirmed he wanted to meet the girl's family when the claims were first made – and only said he touched her breasts and vagina because he was "scared for my life" at the meeting.

"I don't really know where it (the claims) is coming from . . . but to say all those things? I have never touched (anyone) in any such way or in any shape or form."

He said the meeting became very heated. "I was scared of my life. I got so scared – the house was completely in an uproar. I said: Is this what you want to hear?

"Ok, so I touched her breast and I touched her vagina. Now, take me out of here. But there was nothing (ever) done to her.

"That (statement) was completely under duress. I should never have said it . . . (but) the way they screamed and roared at me. I thought it would calm them."

FAMILY

The former Cork City Council member denies six counts of sexually assaulting the girl who was in her early teens when the first incident is alleged to have occurred.

"It certainly did not happen . . . (it is) untrue. Under no circumstances did I do that. I read the statement and I got sick to my stomach . . . it did not happen," he said.

The complainant, who cannot be identified, claimed the incidents occurred in Mr Murray's car, in a pub toilet and at another address.

On some occasions, she said, he groped her by rubbing her breasts and vagina outside her clothing while attempting to kiss her on the mouth.

However, on two occasions she claimed he pushed his hand under her clothing, inside her underwear and penetrated her with his finger.

After one incident, she was left sore and bleeding by the "very rough" treatment.

She claimed that on two occasions, while sexually assaulting her with one hand, he rubbed his other hand on his groin area, and sobbed as she recalled one incident.

"(He said) 'You are a very beautiful girl' . . . he whispered into my ear: 'I'd love to f*** you.' I was shocked," she added.

But Mr Murray insisted nothing of the sort ever happened. He also rejected any suggestion of ever having apologised to the girl's family over the alleged incidents.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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