Tuesday 24 April 2018

Woman's injuries 'were like she was raped with machete'

Sonya McLean

A MAN has been accused of leaving a woman with life-threatening injuries which a court heard were more common in sub-Saharan Africa when women had been raped with machetes.

The 68-year-old accused has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to aggravated sexual assault and intentionally or recklessly causing the woman, his then partner, serious harm at his home in a Kilkenny town on dates between December 1 and December 8, 2011.

The gynaecologist who treated the now 35-year-old woman told the jury she had a 6cm to 8cm tear at the top of her vagina near her bladder which was gaping by about 2cm to 3cm.

"It was such an unusual injury, one that I had rarely seen in my 20 years working," Dr Ray O'Sullivan told Paddy McCarthy SC, prosecuting.

"It is something you would more likely see in Sub-Saharan Africa where women have been raped with machetes."

He told the jury that his colleague had opened the woman's abdomen during surgery in order to treat an infection in her stomach, while he examined her vagina to see if he might find an infection there.

"We could physically make contact with each other while examining the woman," Dr O' Sullivan said, which he confirmed meant he and his colleague could touch fingers through a hole in the woman's abdominal cavity.

"This should not be able to happen, normally the uterus, bladder and bowel would be in the way," Dr O'Sullivan.

He told Mr McCarthy he deduced that the woman's injuries were inflicted with "a very forcible introduction of a sharp object, sharp enough to push through tissue".

He said the woman's sodium levels were very low and effectively this meant her blood had been diluted.


"It is possible that water was introduced into her body," Dr O'Sullivan said. "We were trying to figure out what happened to the poor thing."

Earlier, Mr McCarthy told the jury in opening the trial that the woman and the accused had been in a consensual sexual relationship at the time, having met 18 months previously.

He said the woman had been living in the accused's home at the time, regularly sleeping on his couch.

Mr McCarthy said the jury would hear evidence that the woman fell asleep after drinking half-a-litre of vodka and woke up later to find the accused assaulting her.

The trial continues before Mr Justice George Birmingham and a jury of six women and six men.

Irish Independent

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