Sunday 18 March 2018

Man who raped neighbour at knife point and 'forced her to drive to a park' afterwards jailed for 10 years

The Criminal Courts of Justice
The Criminal Courts of Justice

Fiona Ferguson

A man who tricked his way into his neighbour's house before raping her at knife point and threatening to kill her in an ordeal that lasted over two hours has been jailed for ten years.

The man forced the woman to drive to a park after raping her at her home.

There he alternated between threatening to kill her and saying he was going to kill himself. She managed to keep talking to him until eventually he threw away his knife and they drove to a garda station.

The man told gardai he had taken drugs and couldn't believe what he had done.

During the ordeal the then 27-year-old man man threatened his 54-year-old victim that he would rape her daughter and grand-daughter if she did not do as she was told.

The now 29-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect his victim's identity, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape, oral rape and false imprisonment of the woman in Dublin on June 16, 2015.

Mr. Justice Paul McDermott said it had been a shocking and violent attack on the victim by a man she knew and trusted enough to allow into her home. He noted that the man knew the woman suffered a number of issues with her health.

He said there was extensive forensic evidence and noted while the accused man's guilty plea had not been at an early stage, it had saved the woman the ordeal of a trial. He said the accused man had expressed remorse and seemed to acknowledge the appalling wrong he had done.

He noted the woman had suffered greatly as a result of the attack and felt like a prisoner in her own home. He said the woman “locks down” her home from about 4pm in the afternoon.

Mr Justice McDermott imposed a sentence of 12 years and suspended the final two years on strict conditions. He ordered five years post release supervision.

In her victim impact report the woman said her peace of mind had been shattered and her health and well being had suffered. She said she suffered flashbacks and was in a constant state of fear.

She said she barricades herself into her home and feels as if she is the one who has committed a crime. She said she suffered from a chronic illness and running for help had not been an option.

The woman said she had never been so scared in her life as she was during the attack and felt it was beyond belief someone could do that, never mind someone she knew and trusted.

Mary Rose Gearty SC, defending, submitted that drink and drugs had played a part in the offence and that it appeared to be “wholly out of character.” She outlined voluntary work the accused had carried out in his community. She handed in two testimonials and a psychological report.

She asked the court to accept his remorse as genuine and take into account his guilty plea.

A local garda told Sean Guerin SC, prosecuting, that the woman had been speaking on the phone in the early hours of the morning when she stepped out of her house and came face to face with the accused man at the door.

He asked to use her phone and as she knew he had a relative who was ill, she agreed. Inside the house the accused threw the phone on the table, took out a large knife and “snarled” that he was going to rape her.

The woman tried to calm him and speak to him about his wife and children. He told her that she was to do as she was told and if she did not he would rape her daughter and granddaughter.

After the rape, they dressed and the man told her: “Now you can bring me to the gardai and you better not say anything when we get there.” They went out to the woman's car but instead of going to the garda station he directed her to a public park.

He took the keys from her and shoved the knife in her face. They walked out into the park and the accused told her: “I am going to have to kill you.”

The court heard they spent a considerable time in isolated parts of the park with the accused man alternating between threatening to kill the woman and saying he was going to kill himself.

The woman continued to try and engage with him and asked him to throw away the knife which he eventually did. He rang his wife and told her what he had done. He remained speaking to his wife on the phone until they got back to the woman's car and they drove to the garda station.

The garda said she answered the door at the station at 4.25am. The man told her he wanted to hand himself in. The garda asked why and the woman told her the man had raped her.

While the woman was having her statement taken, the accused remained under supervision in the public area and became visibly upset. He told the gardai that he could not believe what he had done.

He said that he had taken drugs and did not know what had come over him.

He later told gardai he had begun drinking at 6pm the previous evening and consumed 23 cans of Guinness, six grammes of cocaine and two “D10” tablets.

A psychological report handed into court outlined that the woman was suffering from severe anxiety and social withdrawal. It described a “irrevocable change” in the woman's view of the world and sense of well being.

Defence counsel asked Mr Justice McCarthy to consider a rehabilitative aspect to sentencing in terms of post release supervision or a suspended element of the sentence.

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