Monday 23 July 2018

'He wanted me dead, and maybe he thought I was' - mother left with life-changing injuries after brutal attack

Rapist Anthony Cassidy
Rapist Anthony Cassidy

Robin Schiller

THE daughter of a woman who was raped and nearly beaten to death in a random attack told yesterday how her mother is serving a "life sentence".

The horrific assault carried out by brutal Anthony Cassidy was so severe that the woman, aged in her 50s, was treated in intensive care for almost two months and has been left with life-changing injuries.

The Central Criminal Court yesterday heard how Cassidy, a father-of-one of Tinryland, Co Carlow, followed his victim in the early hours of June 25, 2017, before subjecting her to a violent assault that lasted for 35 minutes.

CCTV footage played in court showed a brief clip of Cassidy carrying his victim over his shoulders into the grounds of a castle at 4.16am. The victim was left to die and was only discovered some 12 hours later by a man living on the grounds where the attack occurred.

The victim's daughter told the Herald how her mother has been left serving a life sentence and that Cassidy should never be released. "Whatever time he does, he'll have done it, but the only one with the life sentence is mammy," she said.

"If I had my way, I'd lock him up and throw away the key and never let him see the light of day again, but that's never going to happen.

"To see her go from being bright, energetic, chatty, to just sitting on the chair and looking out the window, that's her life. He's taken everything."

Giving evidence, Garda Sylvia Ryan said the victim was discovered semi-naked and unconscious with visible injuries and bruising.

She was rushed to St Luke's General Hospital in Kilkenny and was only discharged home on October 24 last year - four months after the horror.

Gda Ryan said CCTV footage was obtained from 35 different premises around Carlow town, and that Anthony Cassidy was nominated as a suspect. A warrant was obtained by officers, and Cassidy's caravan at the rear of his mother's home was searched. A number of items were seized for forensic examination, and the victim's DNA was recovered on a jacket belonging to Cassidy. His semen was also found on the victim.

Cassidy was arrested and interviewed on eight occasions, and stated during one interview: "I wouldn't rape a woman. I'd pay for it in a brothel before I'd do that."

He later went on to make certain admissions, including that he punched the victim, but denied raping her. He also claimed his drink may have been spiked prior to the incident.

However, in December, Cassidy eventually pleaded guilty to rape and Section 4 assault in relation to the incident.

The court heard that he had 29 previous convictions in Ireland and a further five in the UK, including a sexual offence for enlisting the services of a prostitute in April 2017.

In a victim impact statement, read out by her daughter, the woman described how Cassidy had ruined her life and that she still lives in constant fear of him.

"Your act of pure evil stole so much for me, but after today, I am closing the door on this," the woman said addressing Cassidy directly. "I am trapped in a body that doesn't work, and it's not my fault. I hear noises or my floorboards are creaky, and I think he's coming for me. I'm in constant fear.

"Beating me nearly to death was bad, but knowing he raped me makes me feel used and dirty. I always think I can smell him on my body. No matter how much I wash or change my clothes I can't get rid of it. I feel violated.

"It has broken me. He just left me there to die. He wasn't sorry. He wanted me dead, and maybe he thought I was."

Justice Patrick McCarthy adjourned the sentencing hearing to April 23.

Herald

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