Friday 21 September 2018

'Ingenious' Garda work in 'sting' operation got phone thief to admit rape

  • Man convicted of raping woman he met on dating app caught through 'ingenious detective work'
  • Martin Sherlock (30) was convicted following four-day trial after just over five hours of deliberations
  • Gardaí arrested Sherlock following a 'sting' operation
Martin Sherlock was convicted following a four-day trial after just over five hours of deliberations.
Martin Sherlock was convicted following a four-day trial after just over five hours of deliberations.

Fiona Ferguson

A Meath man convicted of raping a woman he met on dating app Badoo was caught through "ingenious detective work" on the part of investigating gardaí, a court has heard.

Martin Sherlock (30) 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". The woman decided the only way for him to leave was to let it happen.

Prosecuting counsel Eilis Brennan BL 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". The upset woman contacted a friend after the incident and after discussing it with him, contacted gardaí.

Sherlock, of Athlumney Wood, Navan, Co Meath, had pleaded not guilty to raping the woman at her Dublin home on August 14, 2015. He had admitted stealing the woman's mobile phone. He has no previous convictions.

Sherlock was convicted following a four-day trial after just over five hours of deliberations.

The court heard Sherlock has since lost his job and his wedding plans have been cancelled.

Martin Sherlock arrives at court. Photo: Collins
Martin Sherlock arrives at court. Photo: Collins

Gardaí arrested Sherlock following a "sting" operation in which gardaí arranged to meet him as he was selling a phone through DoneDeal. Sherlock was arrested and, on being asked about the woman by gardaí, replied: "I know she said no but we had already started."

Gardaí were able to recover the woman's phone that he had sold. Nothing had been removed from the phone apart from the WhatsApp application.

The woman, in her victim impact statement, outlined how the offence had adversely affected her life. She said she had been asked to source her medical records in relation to her mental health, which she found difficult and was offended that it mattered to the case.

She said she wondered whether she had ruined Sherlock's life by reporting the offence, but said she was now glad she had done it. The woman said she felt "so stupid and such an idiot" when she found out he had been living with a girlfriend.

The court heard testimonials from family members and from Sherlock's fiancée who described him as a "caring, kind, generous and shy man".

Sherlock's fiancée said she had known him since 2011 and he had contributed to their relationship "in every way a partner should". She said she had been "utterly shocked" when she found out about the case.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy adjourned finalisation of sentence until July 2 and remanded Sherlock in custody.

Blaise O'Carroll SC, defending, said Sherlock was "profoundly sorry" for the events and wished to apologise to the woman.

Irish Independent

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