Monday 16 September 2019

Man who brutally raped student was bailed four times

Rapist was freed from prison four months before vicious attack

Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

Eoin Berkley abducted and brutally raped a Spanish student two days before he was due to appear in Dublin District Court charged with four separate offences.

The rapist was sentenced to 14 years last week for the attack in 2017 on the young student, who was in Dublin to learn English.

The Sunday Independent has learnt that in the two months before the attack on July 15-16, the rapist had been charged with four separate offences ranging from criminal damage to public order and was freed on bail each time.

He was granted bail despite evidence he had breached his bail conditions many times. In one case, he was charged with damaging bins outside a pub in an area of Dublin a judge had banned him from visiting as part of his bail conditions. He was also recorded as being the same city centre area at least four times on the garda system, presenting gardai with further potential opportunities to revoke his bail.

Berkley was due to appear in court in connection with the four offences on July 17 last year. But two days earlier, he had lured the young woman, described in court as "shy" and "naive, to a derelict site in the city where he raped, threatened and abused her over 21 hours.

The case brought Ireland's bail laws under renewed scrutiny last week. The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre expressed concern at the failure to enforce the bail conditions.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has ordered an internal review. The Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has also expressed concern about the case.

New details obtained by the Sunday Independent reveal Berkley was released from prison four months before he attacked the student. He had served an eight-month sentence on a firearms offence.

Two months after his release, he was stopped by gardai on suspicion of trespassing in Irishtown. He was charged and was later released on Garda station bail.

Several days later, on May 20, he was arrested in the city centre for daubing homophobic graffiti on the wall of The George pub. He was charged with criminal damage (of which he was later acquitted) and again released on bail. One of the conditions was that he stay away from The George and stay out of Dublin 2.

In June he was drunk in the city centre and was arrested under the Public Order Act. He was charged and again released on bail. He was arrested again on another criminal damage charge that related to bins being set alight outside a pub in Dublin 2. He was again released on bail.

Berkley was due to appear in the District Court in relation to these charges on July 17

Also in June, Finglas gardai sought to detain Berkley under the Mental Health Act but a doctor would not certify him.

Sunday Independent

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