Thursday 19 April 2018

Former hotel manager raped young woman after she fell asleep in one of the rooms

Central Criminal Court
Central Criminal Court

Conor Gallagher

A former Galway hotel manager has been sentenced to six years for raping a young woman when she fell asleep in one of the rooms.

Lee Wainwright (40) escorted the victim to the room and asked if he could also sleep there after they had both attended a function at the Corralea Court Hotel in Tuam.

He initially told gardaí he couldn't remember raping the woman and then denied it outright, saying he couldn't have sex because of a medical condition. He later pleaded guilty after his DNA was found on the victim.

Wainwright of Curragh Park, Tuam and originally from the UK, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape at the hotel on a date in 2014.

Mr Justice Paul Butler imposed a six year term with the final two years suspended. He said the offence fell into “the lower third of seriousness but the lower third of a very serious offence that can merit a life sentence.”

He noted Wainwright's good work record, lack of previous convictions and the fact that he was in a long term relationship with his fiancée.

“There must in all rape cases, in my view, be a substantial custodial sentence,” the judge added.

The woman, who is in her early twenties was attending an event at the hotel when Wainwright asked her to sit beside him. She told him she couldn't find her friend who she was due to share a room with.

Wainwright told her he could get her a room. He took her to reception and entered it into the computer system before telling her he would walk her to the room.

The woman allowed Wainwright to stay in the room. She got into bed with her clothes on while he used the bathroom. As she fell asleep she felt the accused put his hand over her outside of the bedclothes.

She said she woke up sometime later to find the accused having sex with her. She pushed him off and fell back asleep. When she awoke in the morning she thought she had imagined it but then realised she had been raped.

Wainwright had already left. The woman phoned her boyfriend and told him what happened before finding her friend and telling her. She said she never agreed to have sex with Wainwright and hadn't even kissed him.

Gardaí were alerted and called to Wainwright's home that day. He said he had given the victim a peck on the cheek and had touched her breast before she rejected his advances. He said then he went to sleep and didn't remember raping her.

In later interviews he said he was adamant he didn't rape her and that he remembered everything else from that night. He told investigators that if he had sex with her there would have been blood on the sheets due to a medical condition he suffered from.

The woman read a victim impact statement to court stating that for weeks afterwards she felt she couldn’t get “the filth of him” off her no matter how much she washed.

She outlined how her trust in people had been shattered since the rape and how her relationship had ended due to her partner's feelings of helplessness from that night.

She said in her “youthful naivety” she thought she could trust the accused. She said the rape happened while she was asleep, when she was supposed to feel safe. If she hadn't woken up she might have become pregnant and would never know Wainwright was the father, she told the court.

“He's the one with the problem, not me,” she said.

“His actions that night were despicable and deplorable. I just hope he's never allowed to do what he did to me again.”

Wainwright's counsel read a letter of apology to the woman in which Wainwright said he was “sincerely sorry” to her and her family for his actions.”

He said Wainwright moved to Ireland from Birmingham when he was 28 to work in the hotel industry. He said he now worked in an IT company in Galway and was engaged to be married.

Counsel said the rape was “totally out of character” for Wainwright and pointed to reports which put him at a low risk of re-offending.

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