Rapist abuses victim in angry court outburst

Isabel Hayes

A Kerry man who raped a grandmother had to be removed from court on Monday after he launched a foul mouthed tirade at his victim whom he labelled a 'filthy prostitute."

Convicted rapist Richard O'Brien (57) of Arlington Lodge, Church Street, Tralee, had to be removed from his sentencing hearing at the Central Criminal Court after he repeatedly interrupted proceedings, tried to sack his barrister and shouted abuse at his victim.

The courts previously heard how O'Brien had lured his victim to a caravan in Dublin before raping her, assaulting her and biting her during a sustained and vicious attack on March 19, 2011.

He then fled to the UK before being extradited in 2013. He was found guilty by a jury earlier this year of rape, attempted rape, false imprisonment and assault causing harm.

At the start of his sentence hearing on Monday O'Brien repeatedly interrupted the proceedings, ordering prosecution barrister Anne Rowland SC to "get her facts straight", before turning on his defence barrister, Damien Colgan SC, and telling him: "On your bike".

After giving O'Brien several warnings, Mr Justice Tony Hunt ordered that he be removed from court. As he was led away, O'Brien turned towards his victim and verbally abused her.

The sentence hearing continued after the judge asked Mr Colgan to continue to represent O'Brien. He has already sacked at least one legal team and is "the client from hell", Mr Justice Hunt said.

Garda Ruth Brett told Ms Rowland that the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was having birthday drinks with friends in a Dublin pub when O'Brien offered to buy her a drink. He then invited her back to a house party, telling her it was his sister's birthday.

However, when the woman arrived at the home, she became uneasy and asked to get a taxi home. O'Brien invited her into a caravan at the back of the property on the pretext of ordering her a cab. Once inside he pushed her on to the bed, punched her repeatedly, bit her on the chest and neck and raped her. The prolonged attack ended only after two men entered the caravan and stopped O'Brien.

In her victim impact statement the woman said she has suffered nightmares every night since the attack. "For the last five years of my life I have been existing, not living," she said.

The court heard O'Brien has a previous conviction for rape and false imprisonment of a woman.

Mr Justice Hunt adjourned the matter for two weeks, saying he needed to consider sentencing.

The judge also expressed concern at O'Brien's behaviour in court, saying "one gets a very real flavour" of his character. He adjourned the case for sentencing on December 12.