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Nurse in rape case likely to be cleared of all charges

AN Irish nurse jailed for raping a woman in the toilets of an Australian hotel is expected to have all charges dropped by Australian authorities today.

Anne-Marie O'Loughlin (26) has maintained her innocence since the incident took place in November 2008. She was convicted last December but granted a re-trial following an appeal earlier this month.

Ms O'Loughlin, who has been out on conditional bail pending the re-trial, was told on Sunday that the 34-year-old complainant was seeking to withdraw the charges.

Her family are hopeful she can now return to Ireland.

Surrounded by neighbours and friends at the family farm in Edenderry, Co Offaly, her father Shay O'Loughlin last night said he was "over the moon".

"We are absolutely thrilled with it. We didn't think we would get a conclusion so quickly," he said.

"She was crying with joy. It was absolutely terrific."

Mr O'Loughlin said his family had been greatly helped by the support from neighbours, friends, well-wishers and the Irish Australian Support Group.

"It has been a horrible time. We know Anne-Marie is a very good person. We were always square behind her in the whole thing from the very beginning," he added.

"Only for the support we got, we wouldn't have got through it. It was an ordeal, to think of your daughter coming home for Christmas and then she is in jail."

Mr O'Loughlin and his wife Anna travelled to Australia for their daughter's sentencing in February.

Although she was due for release on her 27th birthday on March 3, Ms O'Loughlin was determined to clear her name.

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"It wasn't the sentence, really. It was to get her name cleared in court, that's what we were going for," her father said.

He claims his daughter was placed in a high-security prison because of the huge amount of public interest in her case.

"We would hope that when she comes back they will leave her, give her a bit of space, because she will need that," he added.

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