Saturday 18 November 2017

Man does not accept verdict that he raped his wife, court hears

The Central Criminal Court
The Central Criminal Court

Isabel Hayes and Conor Gallagher

A woman whose husband raped and brutally beat her in their marital bed after she declined to hold his hand has told a court how “more than just (her) marriage died that night”.

“I feel like a ghost,” the woman told the Central Criminal Court during an emotional victim impact statement.

“The attack on me in my own bed was a complete shock. I couldn't breathe, move or make a sound. I was sure my life was over.”

Last October, a jury found the 45-year-old Laois man guilty of raping his wife of on January 8, 2015. He had already pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to her by punching her repeatedly in the face prior to raping her.

His sentence hearing was told on Monday that he does not accept the rape guilty verdict.

A detective garda agreed with Pauline Walley SC, prosecuting, that during the attack the woman started screaming, “Help me God” before he told her, “No God is going to help you”.

He stuck his thumb in her mouth to stop her screaming for help from their son, leaving her unable to breathe for about one minute.

The court heard the attack was sparked by the man becoming annoyed when his wife did not hold his hand on the couch that night and told him “begging is not attractive”.

When she came to bed that night, he attacked her and told her, “That will teach you not to disrespect me. I want to hear you beg for mercy”, before saying, “Now I am going to rape you and I am going to enjoy it”.

The man told gardaí he “flipped” because the woman accused him of being “needy” and he felt she implied he didn't know how to attract women. He said he punched her five or six times to the face before making her beg for mercy.

He said he then asked her for sex and she consented and seemed to enjoy it. He also said she had previously asked him to “rape” her during consensual sex and that she never refused sex.

The woman said she was not physically forced to have sex but that she felt it was her only way out. She said she never previously asked her husband to rape her.

Adjourning the matter for sentencing on December 20, Mr Justice Paul Butler said it was “highly significant” that the jury had returned a unanimous guilty verdict to the rape charge. He noted that the woman was more profoundly affected by the assault than the rape and she would never have claimed she was raped if it had not happened.

In her victim impact statement, the woman said she had little memory of the rape, which was “completely overshadowed” by the assault. “I was in a state of shock at the time,” she said, adding she thought she was going to die.

“Something more than just my marriage must have died that night because I feel like a ghost,” she said, adding she has not cried since the incident.

“People who used to be close to me don't acknowledge me but I can still see them,” she said, adding she has since moved to a new home where she doesn't know anyone.

“I'm sure my emotions will return some day and I'll (find) a new identity and won't stay a ghost. I know God saved my life for a reason.”

Defence barrister, Caroline Biggs SC, told the court her client was extremely remorseful for the assault, although he maintains he did not rape his wife. The court heard he has no previous convictions and has a low risk of re-offending.

A number of testimonials on his behalf were handed up to the court including two from his adult children, who said his actions that night did not reflect well on the father they knew growing up.

In a letter to the judge, the man said his wife was a good mother and a wife who did not deserve to be assaulted. “I regret it very much,” he said.

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News