Saturday 17 March 2018

Rapist had 103 convictions and was on bail for seven offences when he attacked woman in Dublin hotel

Central Criminal Court (Stock photo)
Central Criminal Court (Stock photo)

Conor Gallagher

A man with 103 convictions was on bail for seven offences when he raped a woman in a Dublin hotel room, a court has heard.

John Gavin (29) was jailed for six years today for raping the woman in Handel's Hotel on Fishamble Street in 2012.

The woman had helped him get a hotel room by saying she was staying there too after the hotel refused to give Gavin a room.

The court heard Gavin later denied rape. He told gardaí that the victim was a “lying bastard” and a “dirty mare” and said she had “jumped” on him.

Gavin with a previous address of Belcamp Halting Site, Coolock had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape of the woman on March 26, 2016.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey imposed a six year sentence which was backdated to July 2016 when Gavin went into custody on this offence. He also ordered that Gavin be registered as a sex offender.

Gavin has previous convictions for violent disorder, possession of drugs, criminal damage, theft and other offences. He was on bail on seven separate charges at the time of the rape.

Pauline Walley SC, prosecuting, told the court that the victim got chatting to Gavin at a city centre venue. They spent the day drinking and taking drugs before the victim left to go home at around midnight.

She became aware Gavin was having trouble getting a hotel room and agreed to meet him and help as it was on her way home. They went to Jury's Hotel but were refused and directed to Handel's.

The court heard she kissed Gavin in the lobby of Jury's and had kissed him earlier. She did this because she wanted to show she had no problem with travellers.

Gavin was given a room in Handel's and the woman went up with him. In the room she saw Gavin take off his trousers and went to leave but he jumped on top of her.

He raped the woman as she pleaded with him to stop. He made so much noise that the residents in the next room made a complaint. The woman then left the hotel crying and told the receptionist there was a “scumbag” up in the room.

Gardaí were alerted and went to the hotel the next morning. Gavin was gone and the room was thrashed. The toilet bowl was broken and a bath towel had blood on it. Gavin was arrested a short time later.

The victim wrote in a victim impact report that she didn't think she would ever move on from the rape and that she was still terrified of Gavin.

“I still worry he will attack or rape me again because I reported it to the guards,” she wrote.

“He has ruined my life and changed me from the happy person I once was.”

Defence counsel Fearghal Kavanagh SC said Gavin faced lengthy delays awaiting trial because of failures by the prosecution to carry out proper disclosure.

He said Gavin is married with three children and handed in a character reference from his wife, who believes he is innocent.

Gavin wept as his barrister told the court he was barely able to read or write.

He said he had several mental health problems which could be caused by his drug use.

Counsel also pointed to a report which found that Gavin's risk of sexual re-offending was low.

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