Monday 28 May 2018

'You have broken our lives but we are strong' - Victim's family statement as rapist jailed for 18 years

“I rang her after the court today and said, ‘Mammy, he got 18 years and she just said ,‘at least now he knows he done bad’

Rapist Anthony Cassidy
Rapist Anthony Cassidy

Aife Nic Ardghail and Sonya McLean

THE daughter of a woman beaten and raped in a random attack has told of her family’s relief after her attacker was jailed for 18 years.

Anthony Cassidy (34) attacked his victim, who is aged in her 50s, as she was walking to a shop in the early hours of the morning.

A garda said extensive CCTV footage, which was shown in court, tracked Cassidy’s movements to and from where he dumped his unconscious victim on the outskirts of Carlow town.

Cassidy was yesterday sentenced to 18 years in jail for what was described by the presiding judge as one of the most serious crimes to come before the court.

Speaking to RTÉ’s ‘Drive Time’ after the sentencing hearing, the victim’s daughter said: “I’m happy that he’s got the 18 years because I really didn’t think he was going to get that.

“It’s so hard because when I look at him, he just looks like a normal man and you don’t think that someone, like, normal could do something so horrific and so bad to somebody else.

“I rang her after the court today and said, ‘Mammy, he got 18 years and she just said ,‘at least now he knows he done bad’. That’s her mentality at the moment,” she added.

Cassidy, a father-of-one from Tinryland, Carlow, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape and assault causing serious harm to the woman on June 25 last year.

He had 34 previous convictions, including soliciting for sex in the UK and two assaults in this country.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said by “anyone’s yardstick” the offence fell into the most serious category and noted that “in the context of the evidence” Cassidy would have been convicted with “virtual certainty”.

He said it was “obvious” that Cassidy had followed the victim. He concluded therefore that there was “a substantial degree of pre-meditation” after noting that the footage showed a woman “in a helpless situation” being carried or dragged.

“She was simply left there,” said Mr Justice McCarthy, after pointing out that Cassidy made no effort to tell anyone and the attacker “appears to have returned home”.

He said the forensic evidence made it quite clear that the victim had been raped, before adding that Cassidy seemed to have had “a straightforward desire to impose gratuitous violence” in addition to violating her.

He said the woman “suffered extreme brain injury” with devastating and long-term consequences, after noting that she has mobility difficulties and has isolated herself from society.

“She cannot wash herself, or use the toilet herself and her room for improvement is modest. It is very unlikely she will make a full recovery,” Mr Justice McCarthy added.

He said it was clear from the woman’s victim-impact report that she suffered from nightmares and she described herself as a broken woman.

The judge quoted from the victim’s statement, in which she said that she intended to “scrape together the little bit of dignity I have left and do my best to enjoy the rest of my life”.

He said that the woman’s daughter had also written a victim-impact statement on behalf of the family, in which she stated that Cassidy had ruined all their lives.

“You have broken our lives but we are strong and we won’t let you ruin our lives any more than you have,” the judge said quoting the woman’s statement.

At a previous hearing. a victim-impact statement was read out by the woman’s daughter to court. She described how she was now completely dependent on her family for assistance.

“Beating me nearly to death was bad, but raping me makes me feel used and dirty,” the woman added. “He left me there to die, he wasn’t sorry.”

The woman added: “Your act of pure evil stole so much for me but after today I am closing the door on this.”

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