Tuesday 22 January 2019

Notorious violent rapist is free to walk streets again

Convicted rapist Trevor Byrne
Convicted rapist Trevor Byrne

JIM CUSACK

Ireland's policy of rape sentencing is under the spotlight again after one of the country's most dangerous rapists was released from prison.

Trevor Byrne (37), originally from O'Devaney Gardens in Dublin's north inner city, has completed a six-year sentence for assaulting a woman after forcing his way into her Phibsboro home and dragging her upstairs in September 2009.

He was originally released in March this year, benefitting from remission, but re-imprisoned in April after breaching parole conditions. He was re-released last week and is currently under garda surveillance, though it is not clear how long this will last.

Byrne has ten convictions, the longest being for 15 years for raping an 18-year-old woman in November 1993 when he was only 16. He struck his first victim on the head with a brick and told her he had to kill her.

Thirty six hours after his release in December 2005 he attacked a Filipino nurse leaving work in the early hours near the Mater Hospital, Dublin. He was jailed for five years on a charge of assault and threatening to kill one of two men who came to her rescue.

Just 14 hours after being released from that sentence, in September 2009, Byrne attacked the young French woman in Phibsboro. She gave evidence that he struck her on the head and forced his way into her home, but her housemate was awoken and Byrne fled. Byrne was given an eight-year sentence, with the final two years suspended. With parole, he served only five years of the sentence.

On his release in March this year, Byrne was told he had to observe an 8pm to 8am curfew and not to consume alcohol or drugs. Within two weeks of his release he was stopped on the street outside his curfew by gardai and found to be carrying a bag containing six cans of cider.

Byrne had been staying in the Cabra area, but moved to Cavan after his presence became known, then later returned to Dublin and was staying in a B&B in the north inner city when he was re- arrested.

At his hearing in April this year the court heard that extensive media coverage concerning Byrne had been "problematic" for the Probation Service and Byrne had to change address six times in 20 days.

Byrne was just 16 years old when jailed for 15 years in December 1994 for raping his victim on the North Circular Road, Dublin on November 3, 1993.

Since Byrne's first sentence there has been a significant reduction in prison terms for serious offences, particularly for rape and murders.

Gardai were unaware of his release in December 2005 and he was only caught because the two men who apprehended him as he attacked the nurse detained him until gardai arrived. They were similarly not alerted when he was again released in 2009 before attacking the young French woman. However, gardai were informed last week of Byrne's latest release from jail by the Probation Service.

Sunday Independent

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