Saturday 24 March 2018

Man held down woman while another man raped her, court hears

The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin
The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

Declan Brennan

An unemployed Cork man who held a woman down while another man raped her will be sentenced later this month.

After a Central Criminal Court trial last March a jury found Keith Aherne (23) guilty of raping the woman in a park in Cork city on June 28, 2013. He had denied the charge.

Another man who last March pleaded guilty to raping the woman, was due to be sentenced today. The court heard this morning that this man (22) has since died.

Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy adjourned the case to May 29 and remanded Aherne in custody.

Aherne of Sawmill Lane, Sawmill Street, Cork has 41 previous convictions including robbery, assault and possession of drugs.

The victim had been drinking with friends in the park and fell asleep. She told gardaí that when she woke up two men she didn't know had joined the group and her mobile phone was missing.

Her friends left some time later but the woman was anxious to find her phone and stayed in the park. The two men stayed behind and offered to help her look for the phone.

She was crying about her phone when the attack began with Aherne grabbing her by the shoulder and holding her down and the other man raping her.

In her victim impact statement, read into court by Garda Sergeant Katrine Tansley, the woman said that after the rape she was diagnosed with depression and a condition that causes her to pull her own hair out.

She said she lost all her confidence and “even my will to live”. “They took an awful lot from me,” she said, adding that she repeatedly asked herself why she had been in that park that night.

She said that Aherne had power over her on the night, saying “you held me down and watched while another man raped me”. She said that he could see how distressed and upset she was.

Gda Sgt Tansley told the court that when the rape began the victim began crying and repeatedly saying no. Aherne told her “it's alright girl”.

After raping her the other man invited Aherne to rape her too, asking him if he wanted to “lob it in”. Aherne said no and the men walked off, leaving the victim crying.

Aherne told the other man “we can't leave the beour like that, that's lousy” and he walked back and gave her a hug. The woman told gardaí she thought he was being sympathetic but didn't know why she hugged him.

As she was leaving the park she shouted after the men that she would go to gardaí. The other man told her “I'll kill you stone devine dead” if she did and said he knew where she lived.

The woman told a taxi-driver immediately that she had been raped and was brought to a sexual assault treatment unit.

Counsel for Aherne said that he had been pulled into a life of drink and drugs and that his other convictions were for crimes committed to feed his habit.

He said that his client had played a lesser role in the attack and had tried to offer some comfort to the woman.

He said Aherne's parents had alcohol and drug addiction problems and Aherne didn't have the best start in life. He said he hoped to get free of drugs and to make a fresh start in life after he has served his sentence for this.

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