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06 Oct 2022

Louth man jailed for raping woman at a house party

Louth man jailed for raping woman at a house party

A victim has described how she would lay in bed and picture all the ways she could end her life after she was raped four and a half years ago. 

 A Louth man has been jailed for seven years for the rape after he was convicted by a Central Criminal Court jury last October.

While he accepts the jury’s verdict, the man continues to maintain that he has no memory of the offending.  

The man had pleaded not (NOT) guilty to rape at a house party in May 2017.  Both the man and woman were 21 years old at the time. He said he had drunk a large amount of alcohol and did not remember the incident. 

Garda Aidan Moran told Eileen O’Leary SC, prosecuting, that the victim had been out socialising with her sister and attended a party where a BBQ and drinks were taking place.

The accused also attended the party, but arrived after midnight. The victim began to feel unwell, got sick, and decided to lie down in one of the bedrooms.

The accused, who was known to the victim, entered the bedroom and lay on the bed beside her. He then proceeded to take off his clothes and get into bed with her. 

Gda Moran said the accused then pulled the victim's underwear to one side and penetrated her vagina with his penis. He then asked her, using her first name, to roll over and she the victim stated that she could not and did not respond. 

He then pulled her onto her side and continued to penetrate her and he them rolled her on back where she managed to get up.  

The court heard the victim managed to get out of the bed, run and get her phone and leave with her sister.

A complaint was made to the gardaí on May 9, 2017.  The victim was also examined in the sexual assault treatment unit at the Rotunda Hospital.

The accused was interviewed by gardaí that same month and claimed that he did not remember the incident and that it was not in his nature. During the interview, the accused did not answer questions gardaí put to him, replying "no comment".

Gda Moran told the court that the accused has complied with all bail conditions and has no previous convictions. It was also highlighted to the court that the accused had never come to the attention of the gardaí before the assault or while on bail.

Ms Justice Eileen Creedon noted that the complainant and the accused were known to each other. She said the woman was at a house party with people she knew well and “was entitled to feel safe in that environment”.  She said the man had taken advantage of her while she was vulnerable. 

The judge noted that the offences had “a detrimental impact” on the woman’s mental well-being and on her education. She said that a headline sentence of nine years was appropriate in the case. 

Ms Justice Creedon noted that while the man accepts the jury’s verdict and has apologised to the victim for putting her through a trial, he still maintains that he has no memory of the offence. 

She took into account his lack of previous convictions and the fact he has never come to garda attention, his co-operation with both the investigation and the probation service and the remorse he has expressed before she imposed a sentence on eight years. 

Ms Justice Creedon suspended the final year of that sentence on strict conditions, including that the man engage with the Probation Service for a year upon his release. He was registered as a sex offender. 

John Fitzgerald SC, defending, outlined that both parties had been drinking on the night of the assault and that no force or violence occurred during the assault. He stated that his client did not act in predatory behaviour.

The day following the assault, the accused sent the victim messages via Facebook stating he was "disgusted with his behaviour".

Mr Fitzgerald also told the court that throughout the investigation, his client has been fully compliant with the gardaí and has heard the evidence and accepted the jury's findings. The accused has also expressed his sorrow and shame for what happened.

The victim read from her victim impact statement in which she said she had to take a year out from college because of the rape. She said she finds it hard to remember what life was like before she was raped and that a part of her will never be the same again.

She said that she now has her guard up with everyone she meets and she no longer likes the person she has become.

For a long time, she could not use the word rape and felt isolated and suffered from low self-esteem. She described the assault as an out of body experience and that she froze during the assault.

 She said she struggles with how someone she knew could do this to her like she was an object for him to use. She also stated she feels that she has let her parents down and is a bad daughter, sister and friend.

The court also heard how she would lay in bed and picture all the ways she could end her life after the rape had occurred. 

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