Sentenced to 15 years for hen party rape
A 25-year-old man who “befriended” a woman separated from her friends during a hen party in Galway city before repeatedly raping and beating her in his flat has been given a 15-year sentence.
The young woman, who feared for her life, managed to escape from a bathroom window after an ordeal lasting several hours and ran completely naked to a nearby house for help.
Louis Sheils, formerly of Clifton Crescent, Newcastle, Galway, fled the flat before gardaí arrived but was arrested two days later in Killarney with sterling currency and a bus ticket to Belfast.
Sheils pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape, oral rape and false imprisonment of the girl at his rented accommodation on June 5th, 2011. He has been in custody since his arrest two days later. Sheils has three previous convictions, including assault.
Mr Justice Paul Carney said the case was “one of the worst of its type to come before the court” and merited a sentence of 15 years on the rape charges. He suspended the final three years after taking mitigating factors into account.
He imposed an eight-year concurrent sentence on the false imprisonment charge. He declared the man a sex offender as required by law and ordered 18 months post-release supervision.
The court had heard that that the young woman became separated from her friends at a hen party after losing her mobile phone.
Outside the club she was “befriended” by Sheils, who brought the woman to his accommodation in Newcastle and told her she could make a phone call. When she resisted his sexual advances, he became violent.
In her victim impact statement, she said: “I fought for my life that night.” She said she has been “scarred for life” by the image of her beaten face in the bathroom mirror during the attack.
Conor Devally SC, prosecuting, said the view of the Director of Public Prosecutions was that the parameters of the offence were “at the very highest level”.
Sheils is a British national who moved to Corofin, Co Clare, with his family 17 years ago. He moved to Ennis in 2006 before living at various addresses in Galway. Michael O’Higgins SC, defending, handed in a number of testimonials on behalf of Sheils, who has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.