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Graveyard rapist who groomed teenage girl is told: 'You did not win'


Patrick O'Dea

Patrick O'Dea

Patrick O'Dea

A man has been jailed for 17 years after raping and sexually assaulting a teenage girl he manipulated and groomed.

Leona O'Callaghan told the Central Criminal Court that Patrick O'Dea (52) "got inside my head and messed it up".

"For a long time you had me scared out of my wits. How I wish I could go back and give that paranoid, frightened child a hug," she wrote.

Ms O'Callaghan sobbed in court as Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy read excerpts from her victim impact statement before sentencing O'Dea.

She told him: "Let me be clear, you did not win."


O'Dea, also known as Whacker, of Pike Avenue, Limerick, pleaded guilty to charges of sexual assault and rape, on dates in 1994 and 1995, on the second day of his trial at the Central Criminal Court.

The victim, who was attacked between the ages of 12 and 14, waived her right to anonymity so O'Dea could be named in reports of the case.

O'Dea's 42 previous convictions included a single sexual assault on another girl, under the age of 10.

He received a 15-year sentence for multiple rapes and sexual assaults on a girl over a six-year period between 1998 and 2004. He continues to maintain his innocence on those charges.

Ms Justice Murphy imposed an 18-and-a-half-year prison sentence yesterday. She suspended the last 18 months in recognition of O'Dea's guilty plea and his willingness to take part in a psychological assessment.

The assessment placed O'Dea at an above-average risk of re-offending and stated that he had no real insight into the damage caused by his crimes.

O'Dea must engage with the Building Better Lives sex offender treatment programme and will be subject to a three-year supervision order on his release.

His other offending post-dated the attacks on Ms O'Callaghan but showed an ongoing pattern of offences against young girls, the judge said.

Ms Justice Murphy noted the appalling nature of the damage done to Ms O'Callaghan, who had attempted suicide on three occasions. O'Dea isolated and manipulated her, and his abuse had done enormous damage to her psyche, the judge said.

Gda Barry Manton told Garnet Orange, prosecuting, that O'Dea came into contact with Ms O'Callaghan while she was with her older sister and friends in the Garryowen area of Limerick.

Ms O'Callaghan told gardai that O'Dea "latched himself on to the group" and started to focus on her, giving her special attention.

He sexually assaulted her on waste ground where he touched her breasts after kissing her. He told her he had wanted to "touch them for a long time".

O'Dea sexually abused Ms O'Callaghan in a similar way again before he began to worry that they might be seen together and suggested instead that they meet in a local graveyard.

Gda Manton said that on Halloween 1994, O'Dea asked Ms O'Callaghan to perform oral sex on him. She didn't want to, but he persuaded her.

He then raped her in the graveyard after putting his coat under a tree and telling her to lie down on it. He said he was going to "ride the a**e" off her. She tried to get up but he took hold of her hands as she continued to say she did not want to.

On one occasion, her sister became aware that she was meeting O'Dea, so he suggested they meet at a shed at the back of his mother's home. He had sex with her there after laying her down on a mattress.

Gda Manton said that in 1996 O'Dea told Ms O'Callaghan he wanted to see what it was like to have sex in a bed. He then had sex with her in his bedroom while his mother was in the sitting room. This was the final incident.


Ms O'Callaghan told a teacher and her parents were contacted.

Paddy McGrath, defending, asked Ms Justice Murphy to accept his client's plea of guilty as an indication of his remorse and "an acceptance of his wrongdoing".

He said it was O'Dea's opinion that he was neither physically nor emotionally abusive to the victim, but accepted that his behaviour was "wholly inappropriate and exploitative".

Mr McGrath said his client grew up in Limerick city and was always small in stature, possibly due to malnourishment. It was believed he had dwarfism, which counsel said "affected the way he dealt with people as he grew up".