Friday 23 March 2018

Man who sexually assaulted woman he met at a party to be sentenced next month

Durran accepted there had been sexual activity but said it had been consensual. He described the allegation as “a whole lot of shit.”
Durran accepted there had been sexual activity but said it had been consensual. He described the allegation as “a whole lot of shit.”

By Fiona Ferguson

A man who sexually assaulted a woman he met at a party will be sentenced next month.

Andrew Durran (43) is currently serving a seven-year sentence for defilement of his daughter which occurred several weeks later. His daughter waived her right to anonymity in that case.

Durran of Dromheath Avenue, Mulhuddart, Dublin was convicted by a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury following a trial last June of sexual assault of the woman at a party in a house in the city in December 2006.

Judge Sarah Berkeley adjourned sentencing in the case until November 12 next to allow a psychiatric report be completed. Durran faces a maximum sentence of ten years imprisonment.

Garda Nicola Duffy told Garret Baker BL, prosecuting, that following a minor disturbance at the party most of the guests had left. The victim and Durran, who had never met each other before that night, were among a group of five people who remained at the house.

The woman went to the living room with a blanket and curled up on the sofa to go to sleep.

She later woke up and felt a presence behind her. She realised it was Durran and that she was being sexually assaulted. She told him to stop several times and tried to get up but Durran pushed her down. He was attempting to kiss her and was forcibly penetrating her.

After he desisted Durran told her would not try again and “not to worry.”

A friend of the victim was in the room at the time but was heavily asleep. The woman later told her friend what had happened and the home owner rang the gardaí.

Durran accepted there had been sexual activity but said it had been consensual. He described the allegation as “a whole lot of shit.”

He denied penetration and expressed surprise when a DNA profile taken from the victim's underwear matched him.

In a victim impact report handed into court the woman outlined that she was “looking forward to putting this nightmare where it belongs – in the past.”

Gda Duffy said Durran had 17 previous convictions including one for defilement of his daughter which occurred in January 2007. The remainder are largely road traffic offences.

Durran had left Ireland for Spain in 2009 after being charged with the defilement of his daughter. He had not been charged with this sexual assault at that time and consented to his return in December 2012 on foot of a European Arrest Warrant.

Gda Duffy agreed with Fiona Murphy BL, defending, that following his return Durran had instructed his legal team to ask if a charge was being brought in relation to this offence and always made efforts to bring the matter forward. He was not charged with this offence until 2014.

Ms Murphy said Durran did not (NOT) accept the verdict of the jury.

She said Durran had requested a transfer to Arbour Hill to do the sex offenders course, Building Better Lives, and was on a waiting list.

Ms Murphy asked the court to take into account the way Durran had approached the case and to be as lenient as possible.

In February 2014 Judge Mary Ellen Ring sentenced Durran to seven years imprisonment with the final year suspended after he pleaded guilty to defilement of his daughter at a house party on January 21, 2007.

Detective Garda Tom Cooney told the court at the sentence hearing in 2014 that Durran had lost contact with his daughter from when she was aged ten until a few months before the crime.

They met up again in November 2006 when she got his phone number from a cousin.

Det Gda Cooney said Durran separated from another partner around New Years Eve 2006. He went to stay with a friend where he let his then 15-year-old daughter drink six glasses of vodka and Red Bull at a party.

The teenager went upstairs feeling intoxicated and lay on top of a bed in her underwear in the spare room she was sharing that night with her father.

A short time later she heard Durran come into the room and get into bed. He turned her over, pulled her on top of him and lay her back down to remove her underwear.

He then pulled his daughter on top of him again and had sex with her.

The woman described the incident as “the worst night of my life” and “like something out of a horror film.”

Det Gda Cooney said gardaí were alerted and forensics found Durran’s semen on swabs taken from the teenager’s vagina.

Durran met voluntarily with gardaí after the incident and told them his daughter had been “very clingy to me” by hanging out of his neck and trying to get “jockey backs” from him at the party.

He said he helped her get out of her tights when she went up to bed and gave her a kiss on the cheek, before going back downstairs to resume drinking.

Durran claimed that his daughter returned to the party a short time later, but they both eventually went up to bed.

He told gardaí he fell asleep after he let her use his phone and woke up to find the girl moving on top of him and kissing him on the face and lips. He claimed he didn’t know if he’d had sexual intercourse or if he had ejaculated.

Det Gda Cooney agreed with defence counsel Caroline Biggs SC that her client had “fundamentally” accepted that penetration occurred and stated he was “gutted and suicidal as a result.”

He further agreed there had been “enormous amounts” of drink consumed by the victim and the adults at the party.

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