Monday 19 March 2018

Hotel boss destroyed my life when he raped me, says victim

Rapist Brian Shaughnessy is the former owner of the Lough Rea Hotel and Spa
Rapist Brian Shaughnessy is the former owner of the Lough Rea Hotel and Spa
Lough Rea Hotel and Spa

Fiona Ferguson

A WOMAN raped by a former Galway hotel owner at a staff party has told a court how her life was completely changed by the attack.

Brian Shaughnessy (47) raped the young woman in the presidential suite of the Lough Rea Hotel and Spa in Loughrea, Co Galway, after asking her earlier in the night if he could confide in her and buying her drinks.

He was the owner of the hotel at the time.

Shaughnessy, with an address at Ballywinna, Craughwell, had pleaded not guilty to raping the woman on July 26, 2010, but was convicted last month.

He will be sentenced at the Central Criminal Court in June.

The young woman outlined in a victim- impact statement the effect of the rape on her life and family. She told the court: "From the moment I left the room, I was changed."

She said she became uptight afterwards and lost interest in her appearance and eating. She said she lashed out at the slightest thing and developed panic attacks.

She became afraid to fall asleep in case Shaughnessy was in her room. When she did fall asleep she said she suffered nightmares about being trapped in a room with a mattress and being raped by men.

"Physically, mentally and emotionally I was raped. I am a real person who was raped ... I am your daughter, sister and friend," she said – adding that she had been worried about getting pregnant and contracting sexually transmitted diseases.

"You never took responsibility for what you did," she told Shaughnessy. She said he had taken her innocence, confidence and trust but she now had it back.

"I am handing back the guilt, blame and responsibility for my rape to its rightful owner. It is no longer mine to carry," she said.

Martin Giblin, defending, handed in testimonials and a number of reports into court on his client's behalf.

Mr Giblin said Shaughnessy had run a successful business, made a positive contribution to his community and provided

good quality employment for up to 100 people.

He said that once the crash came Shaughnessy – a father of three who is separated from his wife – "lost everything" and has now been "deprived of the society of his family".

Mr Giblin said Shaughnessy was a person of previous good character and the verdict has had a serious effect on him but his main concern is the effect on his family and children. He said Shaughnessy continues to assert his innocence.

Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan said he needed time to carefully consider the matter and remanded Shaughnessy in continuing custody for sentencing on June 10.

Sergeant Sinead Clancy told the court that the young woman was an employee at the hotel at the time and attended the staff party with friends.

Shaughnessy bought her drinks and asked her if he could confide in her. He convinced her to go to the Presidential Suite because he didn't want to be overheard.

Once there his attitude changed. Shaughnessy lunged at her and pinned her on the couch before having sex with her. She managed to get him off her got dressed and left the room. She was seen by the night porter in a panicked state.

The court heard that the DPP was of the view that the incident lay at the upper end of the middle range for this offence.

Irish Independent

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