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Woman raped in her sleep by partner awarded €1m damages

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Niamh Ní Dhomhnaill. Photo: Collins Courts

Niamh Ní Dhomhnaill. Photo: Collins Courts

Niamh Ní Dhomhnaill. Photo: Collins Courts

A woman who was raped and sexually assaulted by her then boyfriend multiple times while she slept has been awarded €1m in damages.

Niamh Ní Dhomhnaill told the High Court jury in evidence she "felt unsafe everywhere" as a result of the actions of Magnus Meyer Hustveit.

She was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, had been unable to continue her much-loved teaching job, left Ireland for several years, and had tried at one stage to take her own life.

Becoming tearful during her evidence, she said: "There has never been a part of me that has not been profoundly impacted."

The impact of the assaults on Ms Ní Dhomhnaill was about nine to nine-and-a-half out of 10 on a scale on severity, a psychiatrist told the jury.

Ms Ní Dhomhnaill, with an address in Dublin, took High Court civil proceedings seeking damages against Hustveit, with an address at Jens Bjelkes Gate Apartments, Oslo, Norway.

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Magnus Meyer Hustveit. Photo: Collins Courts

Magnus Meyer Hustveit. Photo: Collins Courts

He was given a 15-month prison sentence following a finding by the Court of Appeal in 2016 his original wholly suspended seven-year sentence was "unduly lenient".

Hustveit had pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to one count of rape and one count of sexual assault committed against Ms Ní Dhomhnaill between 2011 and 2012.

In her civil proceedings, Ms Ní Dhomhnaill sought damages for multiple acts of sexual assault on dates unknown between May 2011 to the end April 2012 at an apartment at Belvedere Place, Dublin.

She sought damages for personal injuries, loss and damage caused by the assault, battery, rape, sexual assault and intentional infliction of emotional harm on his part.

Judgment was entered in default of defence and the jury was told by Mr Justice Max Barrett their task was to assess damages only. The jury assessed damages in a total sum of €1m, comprising €350,000 general damages, €400,000 aggravated damages and €250,000 punitive damages.

In her action, Ms Ní Dhomhnaill said she was in a relationship with Hustveit from May 2011 and they had moved in together into the Belvedere Place flat around September 2011 until the relationship ended around April 29, 2012.

She said Hustveit had repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted her while she was asleep.

She said Hustveit had admitted on April 29, 2012, that he had raped her and this had been going on for some period of time.

Ms Ní Dhomhnaill attempted to take her own life in September 2013 by taking an overdose of sleeping tablets prescribed for her in the aftermath of the rapes and sexual assaults.

All her relationships and friendships had been affected and she continues to feel frightened about trusting people, including her parents.

She continues to have disturbing nightmares and could not say how she would be in 10 years.

Irish Independent