Man who raped girls in Athlone gets two life sentences

Mr Justice Carney said yesterday he found it too upsetting to recite the facts of the case

The scene outside Longford Court House last October when a 30-year-old  man was charged with serious sexual assult on two young girls in Athlone. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The scene outside Longford Court House last October when a 30-year-old man was charged with serious sexual assult on two young girls in Athlone. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Tue, Mar 4, 2014, 01:00

A man who lured two young girls from a children’s birthday party and told them he would cut their parents’ throats before repeatedly raping them has been given two life sentences for the separate offences against each of the children.

The 30-year-old man led the six- and nine-year-old girls away from an outside area where they were playing and repeatedly forced them to submit to an ordeal of sexual abuse and rape.

The girls escaped through a window in the ground-floor flat. They ran back to their parents who had noticed the girls were missing from the party and were out looking for them.

Pleaded guilty
The man pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to three counts of rape of the nine-year-old and two counts of rape of the six-year-old girl at an address in Co Westmeath on September 28th, 2013.

Sentencing the man yesterday to life, Mr Justice Paul Carney said he found it too upsetting to recite the facts of the case.

“A feature of this case was to observe the faces of the hard-boiled press corps having difficulty listening to the facts emerging.”

He said it was too serious a case for any discount in sentence to come from the defendant’s co-operation with gardaí after his arrest or from his early plea of guilty.

After sentence was passed the convicted man asked to apologise to the victims.

Castlerea prison
His previous convictions include criminal damage, assault, robbery and possession of knives. He had just been released from Castlerea prison three days before the offences.

In a plea for mitigation, Martin Giblin SC, defending, said the defendant had a difficult family background and his father had abandoned him when he was six.

He said that in an extensive medical history that took place as a result of contact with psychological services there was “not a trace or scintilla of evidence of any form of paedophilia in his medical records”.

Before sentencing, Patrick McGrath SC, for the State, told the court that this was a case involving young victims and that “reporting restrictions should apply”. The victims cannot be identified.

He said the families of the victims had a “deep concern” that naming the accused man might identify the victims.

Too shy
Insp Aidan Minnock told Patrick McGrath SC, prosecuting, that the man told the girls that he had a six-year-old girl in his flat who was too shy to come out to play.

The girls were playing on an area close to a house in which their families were attending another child’s birthday party at about 4pm.

The two girls told specialist child interviewers that they were playing on a tree and had not eaten any cake yet. They noticed the man looking at them and one girl said later that she thought he was planning his attack.

The man approached them and asked if they wanted to meet a six-year-old girl in his flat. He told them: “She is a bit shy now, come on, come on.”

One girl told gardaí: “It’s like as if we were lured in.”