Man (26) who broke into 73-year-old woman’s home and raped her twice loses appeal
WARNING: This article contains details some readers may find distressing
A Kerry man who broke into a 73-year-old woman’s home and raped her twice has lost an appeal against the severity of his 13 year prison sentence.
Anthony Hussey (27), from Ardshillane, Sneem, Co Kerry, had been out drinking for several hours when he broke into the woman’s home, where she lived alone, while wearing a balaclava and dark clothing in the early hours of September 20, 2014.
Hussey, a barman who had been described as popular in the local community and “well-adjusted” before the offence, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to two categories of rape. He had no previous convictions and came from a well-respected family, the court heard.
He was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment and ordered to undergo five years post release supervision by Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy on July 25, 2016.
He lost an appeal against the severity of his sentence in the Court of Appeal on Monday where Mr Justice John Hedigan described the offence as “one of the most serious cases of rape” to have come before the three-judge court.
Giving judgment, Mr Justice Hedigan said Hussey had placed his hand over the woman’s mouth to stop her from screaming and struck her on the face cutting her lip. He repeatedly told her his “boss” was making him do this to her and that if she kept screaming, three more men would rape her.
She was undressed and was left covered with a duvet. She described “waiting for death” after Hussey had gone home.
Mr Justice Hedigan said Hussey, one of two children, had a good relationship with his family. He had no history of psychiatric illness and, prior to this offence, was of good character. He had been popular in the local community, well adjusted, had a good employment history and was heavily involved in sporting activities.
One of three expert reports found Hussey to have a somewhat exceptional or abnormal level of sexual preoccupation. He watched hard core pornography on an extensive basis and, on at least one occasion, had gone to a prostitute.
His barrister, Michael Bowman SC, submitted that sentences of 13 years were usually reserved for offenders who commit large numbers of sexual offences over protracted periods of time.
Mr Bowman accepted that it was difficult to find an adjective to describe the assaults but “simply because the offensive was so offensive, doesn't mean you take a separate approach to sentencing”.
He said the DPP had provided a list of single-instant rapes to the Court of Appeal which involved similar sentences to Hussey but they all involved fully contested trials by offenders with significant and relevant previous convictions, in his submission.
Counsel for the DPP, Patrick Gageby SC, said the facts of the case were “terrible”. He said Hussey subjected the victim to an ordeal which “even in the long history of the Central Criminal Court, does stand out. Unfortunately, this young gentleman has to suffer the consequences of that,” Mr Gageby said.
What was particular about this case was the “constellation of aggravation” and the judge had made it very clear that the the effect on the victim was “extraordinary,” Mr Gageby said.
Mr Justice Hedigan said it was scarcely possible to imagine the woman’s terror. “It is truly the stuff of nightmares"; A violent and degrading attack, involving two different categories of rape.
As was clear from the victim impact statement, the psychological consequences have been “devastating” on her.
Mr Justice Hedigan, along with President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice John Edwards, said the sentencing judge had identified a headline sentence (16-18 years) and allowed a five year reduction from the outer end of that for the mitigating factors which seemed appropriate given the valuable guilty plea.
It was a “severe sentence” but not one that fell outside the range available to the sentencing judge and the appeal was therefore dismissed.
Wearing a grey suit and tie, Hussey made no reaction when the judgment was delivered.