05/08/2021

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Man jailed for nine years after subjecting his friend to a 90-minute long sexual attack

Man jailed for nine years after subjecting his friend to a 90-minute long sexual attack

A man who raped his friend during an hour and a half attack in her home after bringing a stranger to her house has been jailed for nine years

The 38-year-old man, who had been friends with the woman for seven years, pleaded guilty to orally raping her during a prolonged attack in her Donegal home on August 9, 2017.

A charge of attempted rape, two counts of sexual assault and a count of criminal damage were taken into consideration, the Central Criminal Court.

At a previous sentence hearing last month the woman’s victim impact statement was read into the record in which she described how the man “used and abused me” when she was vulnerable.

Mr Justice Michael White had adjourned the matter after hearing the evidence. He praised the woman for her “tenacity” in managing to recover from a drinking problem at a time of so much distress. “I want to pay tribute to you,” he said.

On Wednesday Mr Justice White said that the court has “a duty to protect society by punishment, deterrence and rehabilitation”.

He said he considered the offence to be in the most serious category considering the breach of trust, the level of violence and the fact that the “horrendous ordeal” lasted over an hour and a half.

Mr Justice White also noted that it was committed by two people, one of whom the accused man brought to the victim’s home. He also took into account the fact that the man hadn’t intervened while the other man was being violent.

He accepted the man had pleaded guilty and had shown remorse before he sentenced him to nine years in prison and imposed a one year post release supervision order.

Kerida Naidoo SC, prosecuting, told the court at that sentence hearing that the man, who can't be named to protect the woman's anonymity, rang her on the evening of the date in question and asked if he could come around for drinks.

She agreed, but was surprised when the man arrived with another man, whom she didn't know. This man's case is still before the courts and cannot be reported on, Mr Justice White ruled.

During the course of the evening, her friend kept trying to ply the woman with vodka, but she refused, saying she preferred cider. He then started grabbing her breasts.

The woman told the man to stop, but she was then dragged into the bedroom and raped, the court heard. During the course of the attack, the woman was screaming and “in an awful lot of pain”, a local detective garda told the court.

The attack went on for about an hour and a half before both men eventually left and the woman contacted gardaí. She was taken to a Sexual Assault Treatment Unit.

In a victim impact statement read out by a detective, the woman said she thought the man was her friend. “But he attacked me, raped me and sexually assaulted me in my home,” she said.

The woman outlined a previous tragedy in her life, which led to her battling with alcoholism.

“(He) knew my circumstances and took advantage of my vulnerable state,” she said. “I thought he was my friend, but he used and abused me.”

The woman said she had previously suffered with anxiety and panic attacks, but these have worsened considerably since the incident. She said she has been sober now for over three years.

When interviewed by gardaí, the man said he had previously had consensual sex with the woman but denied being in her home on the night in question. When shown CCTV footage of him at her home, he maintained he had no memory of that night.

The man's DNA was found on the woman's underwear, the court heard.

He has five previous convictions, mostly for public order offences.

Shane Costelloe SC, defending, said his client was “deeply sorry” for his actions that night. He submitted his client was on pain medication and anti-depressants at the time and had drunk a litre of vodka when he committed the offence.

Mr Costelloe said his client had been in a brief, intimate relationship with the woman in the month prior to the attack.

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