Man jailed for violent rape of young woman at gaming convention to appeal his 12-year sentence
A man jailed for 12 years for the violent rape of a young woman at a Dublin gaming convention is to appeal the severity of his sentence, the Irish Independent has learned.
Keith Hearne (29) was jailed in 2017 for the rape and false imprisonment of Dominique Meehan, who was 24 years old at the time, at the Crowne Plaza in Blanchardstown in 2015.
Hearne, from Allenton Drive, Tallaght, locked the door of a conference room in the hotel where he had cornered his victim, bound her hands with his tie and raped her.
When she screamed, he told her he had a knife in his bag and would use it if she wasn't quiet.
His bag, containing a "rape kit" of a prop knife, handcuffs, condoms, a mask and "sado-masochistic" items, was later found at the scene, the Central Criminal Court heard.
Ms Meehan, who waived her right to anonymity after Hearne was convicted, was only saved when another person forced their way into the room when they heard the disturbance inside.
She has since said she feared Hearne would kill her.
Hearne, now known as Prisoner 107512, pleaded guilty to two counts of rape, one count of oral rape and one count of falsely imprisoning the gaming enthusiast.
Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy handed down the 12-year sentence at the Central Criminal Court, saying the ordeal had been "devastating" for the victim.
- Read more: Dominique Meehan: 'My family and friends had to learn on the fly how to support me after I was raped and that's not good enough'
- Read more: 'Imagine you have been attacked in Westport and need to travel to Sligo hospital' - rape survivor in letter to Taoiseach on lack of support units
The judge said Hearne had perpetrated an "extremely violent series of sexual offences" on the victim, extending to her false imprisonment over a period of time.
Last week, Ms Meehan was told that Hearne's appeal against the length of the sentence handed down to him will be heard in April.
The case will come before the Court of Appeal on April 12.
When Hearne was imprisoned he was first brought to Mountjoy to be processed into the jail system.
It is usual for prisoners to spend their first night in the Dublin jail, but in Hearne's case he was transferred straight to the Midlands Prison over fears he could be attacked by other inmates.
After Hearne was sentenced, Ms Meehan said she would have to reinvent herself, because she had forgotten who she was before the brutal event.
"I don't know who I am anymore. I can't remember who I was before I was raped, and I'm trying to reinvent myself so I'll know who I am. I don't know how I'm going to proceed from here," she said at the time.
"In my opinion, that person that he raped is dead. That person was so naïve, so innocent, because I suppose I believed those kind of things didn't happen to people.
"I'd see it in the news and in the papers, but I just couldn't believe that something that awful could happen to someone, but now I know it does, so that person, I believe, is dead."
Last year, the brave Donegal woman wrote a letter to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in which she raised concerns over the availability of treatment and services supplied to rape victims.
In it, she highlighted a lack of Sexual Assault Treatment Units (SATUs) in the country, and the confusion surrounding the services available for survivors going through the justice system.