Serial sex offender Patrick Nevin has been jailed for five and a half years for attacking a Brazilian student he met on Tinder.
Nevin (37) was convicted after a trial last December of sexually assaulting the student when they met for a first date, after “matching” on the Tinder dating app in July 2014.
Nevin has since pleaded guilty to raping a second woman and sexually assaulting a third victim. All three attacks took place within 11 days in July 2014 and all involved Nevin meeting the women on Tinder and then picking them up at their homes in his dark blue BMW.
Nevin, with former addresses of Mounttown, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin and Castlebellingham, Co Louth, then drove the women to secluded locations and attacked them.
After a trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in late 2017, a jury found him guilty of sexually assaulting the Brazilian woman on UCD campus, south Dublin on July 23, 2014. His lawyers told the court that Nevin continues to deny the charge.
Judge Cormac Quinn said that “contact on Tinder did not give consent to sexual assault”. He said Nevin brought the victim to a secluded spot knowing she was a foreigner who did not know where she was and spoke very little English.
He also noted the use of force during the attack with Nevin punching the woman to the head.
Judge Quinn said he had to take into consideration mitigating factors such as Nevin's age and a prison governor's report, which stated Nevin is on an enhanced privilege level and is pursuing studies in custody. He previously acquired a degree in software engineering from UCD while serving a prison sentence for a serious assault.
Judge Quinn sentenced Nevin to a prison term of five and a half years. He also imposed a post release supervision period of two years, with a condition that Nevin is not to use the internet to make contact with anyone unknown to him for the purposes of meeting with him.
The sentence is backdated to September 2014 when Nevin was arrested for this offence. He has been in custody since then awaiting trial and sentence.
The court heard that the victim was a language student who was using Tinder to meet Irish people to practice speaking English.
After the two “matched” on Tinder, Nevin repeatedly asked the woman to meet with him. She agreed, believing they were meeting to go for a coffee.
Instead Nevin drove her to a secluded field on UCD campus. When she resisted a forcible attempt to kiss her, Nevin became aggressive and began cursing.
He put his hand up her dress and she struggled with him. He pulled down part of her dress exposing her breast and restrained her by holding her arm.
During the struggle Nevin punched her on the back of her head. The attack stopped when she managed to release her seat belt and get out of the car and Nevin drove off.
He left her in a distressed state and she didn't know where she was. A lady out walking her dogs came to her assistance and helped her get to the N11 and into a taxi.
Nevin was identified as a suspect by gardaí after they checked the records of the car registration caught on UCD's automatic number plate recognition system.
During the trial, the woman testified that she was in fear of her life and thought Nevin was going to rape her.
The victim, now aged 36, told the court on Friday that it had been very hard for her to travel back here for the trial last year and to see her attacker.
She said she felt “the same fear I felt that day when he became a monster in front of me”.
Becoming tearful at times and flanked by the investigating garda, Detective Sergeant Denis Ellard, the woman said that when the jury returned its verdict, she felt a freedom she hadn't felt for a long time.
She said that the attack forced her to change her plans to learn English here and she was only able to find work as a cleaner. She said she was working alone most of the time, so the only words she learned were related to cleaning.
Reading from her victim impact statement, in halting English, she said “Initially I blamed myself for everything that happened. I’m afraid of people’s judgment about how I am especially when it comes to men.”
The woman said she struggles to still believe that men can be kind and hates seeing a blue BMW or beige leather as they both remind her of the attack.
She said she still dreams of returning to Ireland to live here. She said that Ireland taught her “to say please, sorry and thank you for everything” and she tells herself nowadays that most people are good.
“I know I lost money and self confidence after what happened but I still think I will be able to live my dream of living here,” she said.
Det Sgt Ellard told the court that Nevin's eight previous convictions include one for “a brutal assault” on his then partner. In that 2001 attack, Nevin killed the woman's two dogs before launching an assault on her which left her with serious injuries.
He received a seven-year prison term for this and the court heard he qualified with a degree in software engineering from UCD while in custody. He also has a conviction from 2012 for possession of a stun gun in suspicious circumstances.
Patrick McGrath SC, defending, told the court that his client does not accept the verdict of the jury for the sex assault offence.
He asked the court to consider the nature of the assault. He also asked the court to note the relative youth of his client.
Nevin is due to be sentenced in another court next month (December) for the rape offence and the other assault.