'C Case' woman speaks of ordeal

 

The woman at the centre of the “C Case” has spoken today of the ordeal of being raped at the age of 13 in 1997 and her subsequent abortion in the United Kingdom.

When the girl became pregnant after the rape and while in care she was granted court approval to travel outside the country for the abortion. Her family challenged the move and the controversial legal battle became known as the “C case”.

The woman, now 25, said during an interview on RTÉ radio this morning that she had repeatedly tried to kill herself in the years following the attack and said her father took his own life. The woman also said she was still receiving threatening calls years after the incident took place.

Her rapist, Simon McGinley, was this week sentenced for 21 years for another rape, of an 86-year-old woman, in 2008. McGinley denied raping the pensioner on June 16th and pleaded not guilty. But his DNA was found on the victim’s electric blanket and pyjamas and his fingerprints were found in her bathroom and bedroom. He was convicted in May.

Mr Justice Birmingham told the Central Criminal Court on Wednesday that McGinley’s latest rape was compounded by his victim’s age and fragility. It was an “outrageous” crime that would cause “outrage” even among McGinley’s fellow prisoners.

The 86-year-old victim, who lived alone, had been attacked for several hours in a rough manner. It had been a “life-changing experience”, meted out in her home, where she expected to be safe.

When he was convicted of the first rape the court had imposed a 12-year sentence, with four years suspended. Leniency had been shown in order to give McGinley some hope for the future, Mr Justice Birmingham said.

But McGinley had “spurned” that leniency by raping again.

Speaking this morning on the Pat Kenny show, the woman at the centre of the C Case said: “My family is suffering along with me.

“I’m doing a life sentence…and that poor old lady is doing a life sentence. We’re doing a bigger life sentence, we’re living with this all the time," she said.

"He's just living with having raped someone, he doesn't care about that. He doesn't care about the feelings, about how we're suffering,"she added.

The woman, who attended McGinley's sentencing on Wednesday, said that seeing him receive a 21-year-sentence was "a relief".

"I'm still suffering to this day with nightmares...I'm on medication and am living with fear all the time and am in counselling."

She also spoke in detail about her ordeal. She had been babysitting McGinleys’ three children in their caravan on a halting site in August 1997 while he and his wife were out socialising. On their return home McGinley told his wife he would drop the girl home in his van.

McGinley drove past the girl’s home and into a council depot where he punched her in the face. He then ripped the girl’s clothes off and began to rape her in the back of the van.

He said McGinley’s wife had followed the van and knocked on the door while the rape was taking place. McGinley jumped into the driver’s seat and drove off with the girl in the back. He drove around for a while before pulling in and getting out to put on his clothes. The girl tried to make her escape but he caught her and hit her again.

McGinley drove back to the girl’s home and threw her out of the van while his wife and the girl’s mother looked on. Before he left, he put a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her if she told anyone about the attack.The girl became pregnant as a result of the rape but the pregnancy was terminated and McGinley was identified as the father, using DNA from the foetus. He was convicted of the rape and sentenced to 12 years with four years suspended.

The woman also talked about her trip to the UK to have the abortion and its impact on her life. She said that she wasn't sure what an abortion was at the time and that if she would have been, she would have carried to full term.

"I wouldn't have wanted to keep the baby but would have put it up for adoption," she said.