Thursday 22 November 2018

'That judge put a price on her sexual assault' - Family of woman (27) attacked by businessman Anthony Lyons

  • Victim (27) was 'rugby tackled' and sexually assaulted
  • Family member claims victim thought she was going to die
  • Sex attacker Anthony Lyons given six month sentence
  • 'That judge put a price on our family member's sexual assault. It was €75,000 and six months imprisonment'
Anthony Lyons
Anthony Lyons
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

A relative of a woman who was sexually assaulted by airline boss Anthony Lyons said that the victim was sure she was going to die during the attack.

In the early hours of October 3, 2010 the victim was walking home from a family gathering when she was attacked by Lyons.

Anthony Lyons
Anthony Lyons

The 27-year-old woman was "rugby-tackled" to the ground on Griffith Avenue, Co Dublin where she was sexually assaulted by the businessman.

Speaking to Independent.ie, a close relative of the victim said that they'll never forget that fateful night.

"A family member had died and we were having a gathering at the Skylon hotel in Drumcondra. The youngsters decided to head to Carthy's and she was walking the short distance home when she was attacked.

"It was heartbreaking. She left the pub early herself and just wanted to head home. I never would have thought that something like this would have happened on Griffith Avenue."

The family member said that the victim still has flashbacks from the attack.

"She was tackled to the ground and she said he whispered into her ear 'do you think you're getting home tonight?'. She was sure she was going to be murdered."

The family member said he shudders to think what might have happened if a passer-by hadn't heard her screams.

"A young man heard her screaming and came to her rescue. He said he had nightmares because the screams were so severe. A taxi also stopped and the passenger in the car lifted her into the taxi."

Anthony Lyons was arrested by gardai after the attack.

Lyons who lived on Griffith Avenue pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to attacking and sexually assaulting the then 27-year-old woman.

After a lengthy court case, Lyons was given a six year sentence, with five-and-a-half years suspended for the attack.

He was also ordered to pay his victim €75,000 in compensation.

Following an appeal, Lyons was sentenced to another 18 months in prison.

The family member said that the area of Griffith Avenue was very dark at the time.

"The stretch it happened on is very dark, but in fairness the council have put up some new lights in the area since the attack.

"There is a teaching college and a secondary school in the area, it wasn't safe to have such dark areas along the road."

The family member said that despite the trauma, the victim is now doing "fine".

"I admire her strength. She puts it behind her. She has tonnes of friends who are so good to her. She is so strong. If someone attacks you like that, you will always have to live with the trauma.

"The victim is the strongest of us all but Lyons' family home is only 500 metres from our house. If she came to visit and saw him, I don't know what would happen. It's not fair that we all have to think about it but she has moved on and blocked it out."

However, he claims their family never got justice.

"We never got justice. He didn't serve enough time in jail. That is not ok for what he did. People always ask our family if we could go back in time would we go through the courts and we always say 'if we could go back in time, we would be waiting for her on the avenue and none of this would have happened'."

The family of the victim are now campaigning to highlight what they claim to be lenient sentencing for sex attackers and rapists in the Irish court system.

"I got to know other victims and everything was so inconsistent," a close family member of the victim told Independent.ie.

"If you commit fraud in Ireland, you will get a severe sentence."

The family are calling for minimum and maximum sentences in order for some consistency in court.

"If a man goes to attack a girl and he knows that the minimum sentence is eight to ten years then he might think twice. Minimum and maximum sentencing would also offer some consistency in court and all the judges would be reading from the same hymn book. And if the judge gives you a sentence, it cannot be appealed. The judge has sentenced you to the correct sentence and that's it. It's not rocket science.

"That judge put a price on our family member's sex assault. It was €75,000 and six months imprisonment. That was the price for a serious sexual attack. Is our victim's attack only worth six months in jail?! You can't put a price on a sex attack. There should be no monetary value, just imprisonment."

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