Man (39) charged with rape of woman (21) who was found hypothermic on derelict property in Cork

Woman’s friends tell gardaí they received a call from her in which she shouted for help before call cut off

A 39-year-old man has been remanded in custody after he was charged with the rape of a young woman who was found on the grounds of a derelict house after getting separated from her friends while on a night out in Co Cork.

The man, who can’t be named for legal reasons, was charged with the rape of the 21-year-old woman at Castlehyde, Fermoy on November 19th 2022, contrary to Section 2 of the Criminal Law Rape Act 1981 when he appeared at a special sitting of Bandon District Court on Saturday.

Det Sgt Danny Holland of the Protective Services Unit based in Fermoy told the court that he had arrested and charged the accused with the offence at 3am on Saturday and that the accused made no reply to the charge when it was put to him after caution.

Insp Emmet Daly said gardaí were objecting to bail for the accused and Det Sgt Holland said the grounds included the seriousness of the charge, which carries a sentence of up to life imprisonment, before he outlined what gardaí allege was the background to the case.


He said that the injured party was visiting Fermoy to attend a 21st birthday party on the night of November 18th and had left the Quays nightclub but became separated from her friends, one of whom received a call from her at 2.30am in which she shouted for help before the call was cut off.

He said that five minutes later at 2.35am, several of the young woman’s friends received a Snapchat message from her, again asking for help so they began searching for her around Fermoy but to no avail and at around 5am, they contacted gardaí who began a search operation.

Gardaí examined the Snapchat message sent at 2.35am and established that it had been taken in the Castlehyde area of Fermoy, approximately three miles from the town and they began a search and found the young woman in the grounds of a derelict house in a rural area at around 8am.

The girl was naked from the waist down and had scratches and cuts on her arms as if she had run through scrub and brambles. She was hypothermic and although conscious, she was not responsive and not able to explain to gardaí how she had got to Castlehyde.

“It was lucky she was found (when she was), I would have had serious concerns for her health and welfare,” said Det Sgt Holland, as he revealed she was treated at Cork University Hospital before being examined at the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit at the South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital.

Gardaí gathered CCTV footage from around Fermoy and were able to establish the young woman was intoxicated and stumbling when she left the Quays nightclub at around 2am before she began flagging down cars on MacCurtain Street where she got into the back seat of one such vehicle.

Gardaí were able to establish the make and model of the car and get a partial registration number and they were able to track it via CCTV driving out towards Castlehyde and later through various towns and villages before they found it registered to the accused at an address in Munster.

Gardaí arrested the man and brought him to Fermoy Garda station where they took a swab from him which was sent for Forensic Science Ireland for analysis and tests showed it was a DNA match with evidence taken from the injured party at the South Infirmary Victoria.

The man was questioned by gardaí and confirmed he had picked up the woman in Fermoy and she had got into the back seat and she fell asleep and when he tried to wake her from the driver’s seat he was unable to do so and she was so drunk, he wondered if she might have been drugged.

He told gardaí that he reversed the car down a laneway and got into the back seat with the woman and removed her boots, pants and underwear and had sexual intercourse with her before she got out of the car and fled so he threw her phone and her clothes out of the car and drove home.

Det Sgt Holland said gardaí found the woman’s phone hidden behind a tree off the main Fermoy-Ballyhooly Road, some 200 metres from where the woman had been found while they found her clothes at the side of the roadway, a further 200 metres away.

He said that in addition to what gardaí believed was the strength of evidence against the accused, they also believed he was a flight risk as he had only moved to Ireland two years ago and in those two years, he had returned to his native country six times and would flee if granted bail.

Cross-examined by defence solicitor, Daithi Ó Donnabhain, Det Sgt Holland agreed the man had been living at the same address with his wife and children for the past two years but said there were no bail conditions such as signing on daily at his local Garda station that would satisfy gardaí.

Judge Colm Roberts said taking into account factors such as the seriousness of the charge, the strength of the evidence and the garda belief that the man would flee if given bail, he was refusing him bail and he remanded him in custody to appear at Fermoy District Court on December 9th.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times