Friday 19 January 2018

Man jailed for 10 years after brutal sex attack on woman

Eavan Murray

A MAN who broke into the home of a mother of four and subjected her to a sustained sexual assault while her son slept in the next room was jailed for 10 years yesterday.

Married father Charlie Cawley (28), of Esker Hills, Ballinasloe, Co Galway, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the attempted rape and aggravated sexual assault of his neighbour Karen Fegan (36) in the early hours of February 27, 2010.

Throughout the 40-minute ordeal, Cawley made threats to impregnate the victim and kill her and her son.

Detective Garda Frank Gallagher told Paul Green, prosecuting, that Cawley, a member of the Travelling community, used a wheelie bin to scale the back wall of the victim's home and climbed up a drainpipe through a window into the bedroom where she was sleeping.

The court heard that Cawley then climbed on top of Ms Fegan, gripped her forcibly by the throat and attempted to rape her before anally raping her.


Before leaving the scene, Cawley took the victim's mobile phone and house keys.

When questioned by gardai Cawley repeatedly denied that he had ever been in the victim's home, before finally claiming that he had engaged in consensual sexual activity with her.

On the first day of his trial, which was scheduled to go ahead last July, Cawley changed his plea to guilty on two charges of attempted rape and aggravated sexual assault.

Defence counsel Garret Baker appealed to Mr Justice Barry White to consider a number of mitigating factors such as Cawley's extreme intoxication at the time of the attack, his low IQ and his history of depression.

Mr Baker also said that the fact that Cawley was a Traveller meant he would find prison life more difficult than most people.

Mr Green submitted that Ms Fegan has been left severely traumatised by the assault and is receiving on-going psychiatric care.

Mr Justice Barry White described the offences as being on the higher end of the scale and sentenced Cawley to 14 years on both charges with the final four suspended.

Cawley, gripping rosary beads, broke down in tears as the sentence was passed down.

His victim waived her right to anonymity and consented to the accused being publicly named.

Irish Independent

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