Wednesday 14 November 2018

Spanish student tells of terrifying triple rape ordeal on visit to Dublin

Attacker bound her hands with a dog lead and threatened to kill her

Eoin Berkeley pleaded guilty to three counts of rape earlier this year
Eoin Berkeley pleaded guilty to three counts of rape earlier this year
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

A young Spanish woman has told a court she believed she was going to be killed during a 21-hour rape ordeal while she visited Ireland last summer.

In a moving victim impact statement, the student said she "still wakes up at night scared", no longer trusts male friends and cannot walk to college on her own as a result of what happened to her.

She said that after the attack by Eoin Berkeley (25) she "did not want to live" and that he had "stolen all of the confidence" she previously had.

"The experience I went through was terrifying," she said.

The young woman watched with her parents and two brothers as her statement was read out at the Central Criminal Court by prosecution counsel Caroline Biggs SC.

Earlier this year, Berkeley, originally from Finglas but now of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to three counts of raping the then 18-year-old at the Irish Glass Bottle Company site, off Pigeon House Road in Ringsend, at a time unknown between July 15 and 16, 2017.

At a sentencing hearing yesterday, Mr Justice Michael White considered victim impact statements from the woman and her parents, evidence from an investigating garda detective, and submissions from Berkeley's counsel, Michael Bowman SC.

From a small town in Spain, she had never been away from home before she came to Ireland to do a summer course to improve her English.

She had only been in Dublin for a fortnight when she encountered Berkeley by chance at a Luas stop in the city centre.

He lured her to the disused site where he tied her hands with a dog lead, raped her three times and threatened to kill her by bashing her head with a rock.

The court heard Berkeley did not admit to the crime while in Garda custody and gave a false alibi.

But he would later make an admission of sorts, taking what his counsel described as "the grotesque step" of cutting himself and writing "I am so sorry" in his own blood on the wall of a courtroom holding cell.

Detective Garda Brian Hunt told the court the young woman had been staying with a host family in Finglas and travelled into Dublin city centre on July 15, 2017, to do some shopping.

She bumped into Berkeley and they began talking.

The court heard Berkeley offered to show her the beach and she agreed to go with him.

Under examination from Ms Biggs, the detective agreed that the young woman was from a small town where people did not lock their doors and was a trusting individual.

The woman told gardaí she had no cause for concern until Berkeley brought her to the glass bottle factory site. He pushed her to the ground and dragged her into one of three tents he had pitched there.

Det Gda Hunt said the woman recounted how Berkeley told her he had killed six people before and had enjoyed doing it.

He tied her hands behind her back with a dog lead and produced a small yellow saw, saying he would cut off her hands.

The court would hear she was raped three times in the following 21 hours, only escaping when Berkeley fell asleep.

As she ran from the scene she rang her father in a terrible state. She told him: "I am going to be killed, I am going to be killed. I have been kidnapped and he has killed others. He tried to strangle me. He raped me. I am scared. I don't know what to do."

She ran until she came to a house where she was able to raise the alarm.

After hearing submissions, the judge said he would need time to consider the appropriate sentence and adjourned the matter until November 1.

Irish Independent

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