Tuesday 23 January 2018

South Dublin man found guilty of raping woman and abducting her four-year-old son

Declan Brennan

A JURY has convicted the owner of an escort agency of abducting a mother and her four-year-old son and repeatedly raping the woman for hours.

Michael Murray (42) of Killiney Oaks, Killiney, Dublin was found guilty of carrying out what the prosecution described as a “terrifying ordeal of sexual depravity”.

Murray had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to two counts of sexual assault, two counts of rape with a make-up pen, attempted vaginal and anal rape, oral rape and aggravated sexual assault between February 12 and 13, 2010 in a Dublin city apartment.

He also denied child abduction, threats to kill or cause serious harm, false imprisonment, stealing a bank card and stealing cash from two ATMs.

After a trial that lasted 22 days, the jury of nine men and three women took just under six hours to return a unanimous verdict of guilty on all counts.

Neither the victim, a non national who lives here with her husband and two children, or anyone from her family were present in court. There were no supporters for the accused in court at any time during the trial and he did not react to the sentence.

Detective Garda Michel Donlan told Dominic McGinn SC, prosecuting, that Murray’s 20 previous convictions include aggravated burglary, burglary, robbery and possession of firearms.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy thanked the jury for their service and excused them from jury duty for ten years.

He remanded Murray in custody, where he has been since his arrest a day after the attack ended. He will be sentenced in October.

During the trial the State claimed that the man was acting out a sexual fantasy based on watching too much online pornography when he subjected his victim to a “terrifying ordeal of sexual depravity”.

Murray lured the woman inside a city centre apartment owned by his wife's family by convincing her that an elderly woman needed her help. It was shortly before 5pm on a Friday and the victim was walking on a city centre street with her son.

During the trial, after viewing the CCTV footage of the woman and her son going into the building with him, the victim said: “Even now I'm thinking: Why would I agree to go with him.”

Once inside Murray took the woman's phone and demanded she have sex with him. He then took her son to another room while she broke a glass bottle against the window to try and raise the alarm.

She said that when he returned she held a piece of the bottle to her throat and threatened to kill herself unless he let them go. This appeared to frighten him and he asked her to put down the glass. By this stage her throat was bleeding.

Murray, who said he was snorting the “head shop” drug Mephedrone, started to beat her and threatened to kill her son.

 “I had no way out so I had to do what he said,” she told the jury before detailing a series of sexual acts he performed on her.

She said at one stage he made her change into a while collared garment, pretend to be ten years old and call him “daddy”.

He became enraged because he could not get erect and was unable to have full sexual intercourse with her.

At one point the woman's son came into the room and was upset. Murray told her to take the child to a different room and to come back to him.

He tied up the woman before leaving the apartment at one stage. He then returned and continued to beat and sexually assault her.

He later gave her a pill to “relax” her and she felt very drowsy afterwards. He put her in the bath and left the house but she managed to keep herself awake by biting her lip so she could find her son.

CCTV footage from the building showed Murray driving away with the boy at around ten o'clock. Murray left the boy on a footpath near the Luas line in Smithfield, Dublin and drove off. A taxi driver picked the child up shortly after this and brought him to a garda station.

The accused left the apartment a second time at around five am. The woman said she then searched the apartment for the boy before she began to throw plates out of a window to catch people’s attention.

She also got a kitchen knife in case the man returned. “At that time, really, I was thinking I want to kill him,” she told the jury.

A passer-by saw the commotion and called gardai. She was brought to hospital and gardai told her that her son was unharmed.

After leaving the apartment a second time Murray drove to his home in Killiney. He stopped twice at two Spar shops and used the victim's ATM card to withdraw money from her bank account.

On the way he sent a number of text messages to his wife's phone telling her to get up and pack a bag. He told her he had killed a man and was going to fly to London.

In other text messages sent to her he described himself as evil and wrote: “My life is over. Thank you for loving me. Remember the good days”.

Murray bought a ticket for a flight to London but didn't board the plane.

Murray then went drinking in a number of city centre pubs and admitted “hiding out” in the Morrisson hotel under a false name. Gardai from the Bridewell garda station, led by Detective Inspector Denis Ellard, arrested him in the hotel bar on the Sunday night.

He was given a six hour rest period after a doctor found he was unfit to be interviewed because the drugs he had taken.

When interviewed on the Monday he confessed to raping the woman and told gardai: “Lives were destroyed. It's unbelievable stuff. If you know anyone taking things from head shops, stop them”. He said that the victim was telling the truth.

In court Murray said his confession made no sense and denied having sex with the woman. He claimed she was an escort working for his escort agency and that she had stolen money from him.

He claimed they spent hours snorting Mephedrone and that he took the child away because she became hysterical about the stolen money and threatened to kill everyone in the apartment.

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