Tuesday 11 December 2018

Five years' jail for man who raped woman he met through dating app

Martin Sherlock. Photo: Collins Courts
Martin Sherlock. Photo: Collins Courts

Fiona Ferguson and Sonya McLean

A rapist who met his victim through online dating app Badoo has been jailed for five years.

Martin Sherlock (30) was caught through "ingenious detective work" by gardaí following the sex attack at the woman's Dublin home on August 14, 2015.

Sherlock and the woman had arranged to meet, but she told him they could not have sex without a condom. She started to feel uncomfortable during other sexual activity and said he did not stop when she said "No".

She later realised he had ejaculated inside her.

Prosecutor Eilis Brennan told the Central Criminal Court that the key issue in the case was that the victim had said no to sex without a condom.

The woman said she thought Badoo was "a way to meet boys", but she did not know how to talk to them and said they just wanted sex after meeting.

Sherlock, of Athlumney Wood, Navan, Co Meath, had pleaded not guilty to raping the woman. He had, however, admitted stealing the woman's mobile phone.

He was convicted following a four-day trial and has no previous convictions. The court heard that Sherlock has since lost his job and his wedding plans have been cancelled.

Gardaí arrested Sherlock following a sting operation in which they arranged to meet him as he was selling a phone through the Done Deal website.

He told gardaí: "I know she said no, but we had already started."

Yesterday, Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy noted that the woman had previously been diagnosed with a mental illness and had stated in her victim impact report that she kept telling herself she had "been an idiot".

"This couldn't be further from the truth. She trusted someone, and he abused her trust," the judge said.

He acknowledged that Sherlock was entitled to have a trial but said that in doing so he had lost "the single most significant factor" in terms of mitigation, a plea of guilty.

Mr Justice McCarthy said: "Sentencing is not an exercise in vengeance" and added that he had also taken into account testimonials from both Sherlock's fiancée and mother.

The judge noted that Sherlock had plans to marry in August but said this was not possible as "obviously a custodial sentence is warranted".

He noted that Sherlock was "otherwise of good character" before jailing him for five years with an additional three years post-release supervision.

At the earlier sentence hearing, Blaise O'Carroll, defending, said that Sherlock was "profoundly sorry" for the crime and wished to apologise to the woman.

Irish Independent

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