Disgraced Ros na Rún actor Garrett Phillips freed after just four years for rape

Sources have confirmed that Phillips, who played the character of Dr Cathal Hennessy, was released from Castlerea Prison in January

Actor Garrett Phillips orally raped a young woman while she was asleep

Patrick O'Connell

Disgraced Ros na Rún actor Garrett Phillips has been released from prison after serving just four years behind bars for the oral rape of a sleeping woman.

Phillips was jailed for six years in June of 2018 after he was convicted of raping the then 20-year-old woman on the outskirts of Galway city early on November 5, 2015, after he offered her a lift home.

The 50-year-old had pleaded not guilty to the charge.

A source said it had only emerged locally that Phillips had been released after he was spotted at the Novena in Galway Cathedral on Monday of last week.

“He was spotted at the Novena on the first night of it,” the source told the Sunday World.

“He had put on quite a bit of weight but people still recognised him.

“A few people got a shock because they didn’t realise he was out.”

Sources have since confirmed to the Sunday World that Phillips — who played the character of Dr Cathal Hennessy in the popular TG4 soap series — was released from Castlerea Prison in early January.

This meant he served his full sentence, as all inmates are entitled to a deduction of 25 per cent in standard remission.

Sources said the details that emerged during Phillips trial in 2018 stunned all those who were close to him.

Shockingly, his barrister revealed that Phillips hadn’t told his wife anything of the situation he was in until the night before the trial.

Over the four-day hearing, Det Garda Evelyn Barrett told how Phillips had approached his victim as she sat alone and upset on a park bench and offered her a lift home.

The woman took the lift and on the way Phillips asked her if she had ever seen an overview of the city lights.

The woman replied that she had not and then fell asleep.

When she woke up Phillips was standing over her with his penis in her mouth.

The detective said the woman reacted strongly, got out of the van, memorised the registration and ran to a nearby home for help.

During the trial, the jury heard that Phillips claimed the encounter was consensual.

He told gardai­ that it had started off “very tender” and felt “chemical” between him and the woman.

The judge noted the woman’s victim impact statement in which she said she had been confident, happy and achieving well in her studies before the attack.

“My life was a train on a track in the right direction,” the woman said.

Some two-and-a-half years later, she said she was a “changed person” and has failed to progress in university despite her best efforts.

She said she was attending counselling, taking anti-depressants and no longer participated in sport, despite the central role it used to play in her life.

She said she had questioned her will to live and struggled with the feeling that the rape was her fault.