Three men jailed in connection with sexual assaults on teenage girl in midlands lodge appeals over severity of sentences

Judge jailed men who ‘behaved like animals’ for terms ranging up to 19 years

Three men jailed for terms of up to 19 years for a range of sexual assaults of a teenage girl in the midlands have lodged appeals against the severity of their sentences.

The appeals are by Gabriel Gomes da Rocha, of Mount Armstrong, Rahan, Tullamore, Co Offaly; Marcus Vinicus de Silva Umbelino and Eduardo Dias Ferreira Filho, both with addresses in Kilbeggan, Co Westmeath, who were respectively jailed for 20, 15 and 18 years, with the final year of each sentence suspended.

Appeals against sentences have not, so far, been lodged by two other men – Conor Byrne, of Ballybeg, Moate, Co Westmeath, and Ethan Nikolau, of Brosna Park, Kilbeggan – jailed for lesser terms of 12 years, with the final two years suspended, and seven years respectively. They have until the end of this month to lodge any appeal.

The sentences were imposed by Ms Justice Tara Burns on June 2nd last following the conviction by a jury of of four of them in connection with sexual assaults on a then 17-year-old girl on December 27th 2016. The men “behaved like animals” and there was “not a shred of humanity or respect” in their actions, the judge said.

The trial heard the girl got into a car with five men after she became separated from her friends at the end of a night-out in Tullamore. She asked for a lift to a place in the county but was instead taken along back roads towards nearby Kilbeggan.

During the journey, she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by a number of men who groped and molested her. The car was parked up at a remote spot on the Harbour Road, Kilbeggan where Da Rocha, Umbelino and Byrne then raped her one after another and Nikolaou sexually assaulted her.

The car was then driven back into Tullamore and parked at the Whitehall car-park.

The woman told the trial she was crying and pleading to leave the car but Filho and Da Rocha stopped her leaving and Filho orally raped her at the same time when Da Rocha raped her a second time.

Byrne pleaded guilty at the outset of the trial to a charge of raping the girl and the jury found the other four defendants guilty of a number of charges.

The driver on the night, Umbelino (22) of Riverview, Kilbeggan, was convicted of sexually assaulting the girl by groping and molesting her on the journey and of raping her at Harbour Road.

Ferreira Filho (24), of Riverview, Kilbeggan, was convicted of sexually assaulting her on the initial journey and of orally raping her at the Whitehall car-park.

Gomes Da Rocha (24) of Mount Armstrong, Rahan, Tullamore, was convicted of sexually assaulting the girl on the car journey out of town and of raping her in the car at the remote spot and again at Whitehall car-park at the same time when Ferreira Filho orally raped her.

Da Rocha and Ferreira Filho were also convicted of falsely imprisoning the girl in the car at Whitehall.

Nikolaou (23) was convicted of sexually assaulting the girl on the journey between Tullamore and Kilbeggan and at the spot in Kilbeggan.

The four defendants, aged between 17 and 19 in late 2016, had denied all the charges. The jury was told their position was that some of the alleged sexual acts never took place and any that did were believed to be consensual.

At the sentence hearing, lawyers for Da Rocha, Ferreira Filho and Nikolaou said their clients accepted the jury verdict and were remorseful.

In her victim impact statement, the woman said that “evil” came to her door that night, she was “robbed of my right to be a dignified human being in my own mind” and her life was “turned upside down”.