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Sunday 23 September 2018

Man guilty of raping woman as he drove her home

Stock picture: Getty
Stock picture: Getty

Aoife Nic Ardghail

A Galway man has been convicted of orally raping a young woman who had fallen asleep in his van while he gave her a lift home from a night out.

The man (46) had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to one charge of orally raping the then 20-year-old woman at a Galway location in the early hours of November 5, 2015. Yesterday Ms Justice Eileen Creedon ordered that reporting restrictions remain in place until after the man is sentenced in May.

During the trial, the victim told the jury that she accepted the lift from the man after first encountering him with his dog while she sat alone and upset in a park.

She said she fell asleep on the journey and woke up to find her assailant standing up in the van opposite her with his right leg on the seat beside her and his penis in her mouth.

"He was thrusting his penis into my mouth", she told the jury.

She described "crying hysterically and screaming", retrieving her phone from him and running around to the back of the van where she memorised the number plate.

She said she ran to a nearby house "and just started ringing the doorbell and knocking on the door, just kept saying the number plate". She said the family at the house rang gardaí.

Another witness told the court that she and her parents opened their front door to the woman, who was crying with "makeup all down her face". She said the complainant was repeating a vehicle's registration when she first came into the house.

The man claimed in his Garda interview that he had driven out to a vantage point on the outskirts of the city at the woman's suggestion. He said their faces "kind of met" while they stopped to look at a view of the city lights and that it was a consensual encounter which had started off "very tender" and felt "chemical".

He then claimed that his victim gave him oral sex for a few seconds before she stated: "I've a boyfriend". He claimed she put her head back, became unresponsive and then sprang upright in anger. The jury of eight men and four women took four hours and 15 minutes to return their majority 11-1 verdict.

Ms Justice Creedon thanked the jury members for their time and attention to the case and exempted them from further duty for seven years.

She directed the man be registered as a sex offender and remanded him on continuing bail until his sentence date in May.

Irish Independent

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