Saturday 24 August 2019

Rapist jailed after horror hotel attack appeals his sentence

Dominique Meehan waived her right to anonymity so attacker Keith Hearne could be named
Dominique Meehan waived her right to anonymity so attacker Keith Hearne could be named
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

Convicted rapist Keith Hearne will have to wait until next month to find out if an appeal against the severity of his 12-year sentence has been successful.

In 2017, Hearne (30), of Allenton Drive, Tallaght, Dublin, pleaded guilty to two counts of rape, one count of oral rape and one count of falsely imprisoning Dominique Meehan in the Crowne Plaza hotel in Blanchardstown on July 4, 2015. When she screamed, he told her he had a knife in his bag and would use it if she wasn't quiet.

His bag, containing a "rape kit" of a prop knife, handcuffs, condoms, a mask and "sado-masochistic" items, was later found at the scene, the Central Criminal Court heard.

Dominique was only rescued when another person forced their way into the room.

She waived her right to anonymity after Hearne was convicted so that he could be named in public.

Hearne, now known as Prisoner 107512, is serving his time in the Midlands Prison. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison by Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy in 2017.

At the time, the judge said it was difficult to express the horror and seriousness of the offence.

He said Hearne carried out "a series of extremely violent sexual offences in circumstances which consisted of her false imprisonment over a period of time".

The judge said Hearne's only mitigating factor was his plea of guilty.

Hearne lodged an appeal to the severity of the sentence, and yesterday his lawyer argued that his mental state and the fact he had no previous convictions should also have been taken into consideration.

Barrister Roderick O'Hanlon said a report on Hearne's mental health had been submitted to the trial.

Mr O'Hanlon said the sentencing judge had disregarded the psychiatric history of Hearne.

"I accept that the judge was correct in holding that he was criminally responsible for the offending on the day in question but the assessment concluded he was suffering from a mental illness," he added.

"He [Hearne] is criminally responsible but the judge still had to consider him as someone with a mental illness, a personal disorder, and no previous convictions," he explained.

But counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, opposing Hearne's appeal, argued the severity of the crime warranted the headline 15-year sentence open to the judge, and the reduction to 12 years was a sufficient reflection of the guilty plea.

Barrister Anne-Marie Lawlor said the gravity of the false imprisonment and rape was "heinous and horrific" and "the depths of depravity", causing the victim extreme pain.

She said at one point Hearne had licked Ms Meehan's cheek and said that "any girl would love this".

Ms Lawlor also said the doctor who submitted the report into Hearne's mental health into evidence had said there was "no causative link" between Hearne's mental health and the offence.

She also argued there are cases where people committing their first offence receive long sentences.

The three-judge Appeal Court reserved judgment until May 13.

Irish Independent

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