A man who repeatedly assaulted and sexually assaulted his then partner and later held in her home against her will has been jailed for 5½ years.
Derek Reid (35), of Clonliffe Road in Dublin 3, slapped the woman in the face, choked and headbutted her, dragged her around her flat by the hair and sat on her chest and put his hands on her mouth to stop her screaming for help.
He threatened to make the woman’s son go missing and said her sister would die screaming from what he would do to her. The pair had met online in February 2017 but only met in person a year later.
Within days of them meeting Reid had effectively moved into the woman’s city centre flat, where all the offending later took place, and began talking about getting engaged. The woman felt controlled by Reid, who made her believe she had nobody to turn to.
Shortly before he was due to go on trial at the Central Criminal Court, Reid pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault committed between March 10th and 13th, 2018. He also pleaded guilty to false imprisonment of the woman from March 15th to 16th, 2018.
Reid had drank a pint of vodka at the time of the first sexual assault. He then ripped the woman’s clothes off and had sex with her while biting her cheek and telling her he wanted her to have his baby.
She told gardaí it happened out of nowhere and she did not consent but was too afraid to tell him to stop. She was upset afterwards and later the same evening Reid forced her to give him oral sex.
Dragged back inside
He left the next day but came back again and repeatedly assaulted her over the course of the night. At one point, the woman managed to get out of the flat and was making her way to the security gates in the courtyard of the apartment complex when Reid caught up with her and dragged her back inside.
He began slapping her again and spitting in her face. He asked her “do you want your ma and son to go missing, or even better your sister? She will not die screaming of cancer, she will die screaming of what I’m going to do to her”.
At one point during the six days, the woman sent a text to a friend saying “this thing is gonna kill me”, Dean Kelly SC, prosecuting, told the court. The woman eventually managed to get out of the flat and went to the Saol Women’s Refuge, where a support worker had been helping her trying to get away from Reid.
When she returned a day later to collect her belongings, she saw that Reid had defecated on her bed and carpet and smashed up the furniture and a TV. Reid was still there and he repeatedly assaulted her again before forcing her to pick up her social welfare payment and hand it over to him.
In her victim impact report, the woman said that the events of those six days were like a nightmare on repeat in her head. At the time she was recovering from drug addiction and felt lonely and vulnerable. She told the court she had attempted suicide but was now rebuilding her life.
“I finished college, I started to believe in myself again. I turned all my hurt and pain into something. I pushed myself, I got my degree, I have my peer training,” she said. “I am a strong woman and I will never let anyone hurt me like you did. I will continue to be the best version of myself I can be.”
Assaulted previous partner
A garda witness agreed with defending counsel Padraig Dwyer SC that most of Reid’s offending is rooted in his alcohol and drug abuse. His previous convictions include assault of another previous partner who was heavily pregnant at the time.
Counsel said his client has taken steps to address his addictions and is now clean of drugs and alcohol. He has been in custody since May 2021.
Mr Justice Paul Burns said that this was an atrocious violation of the victim and that Reid’s actions were deliberately intended to degrade her.
The judge imposed concurrent sentences of 6½ years for the sexual assaults and suspended the final year on conditions including that Reid keep the peace, engage with drug addiction and alcohol abuse treatment, remain drug free and engage with victim awareness programmes.
He imposed a sentence of 5½ years for the false imprisonment, also to run concurrent. He said the main mitigating factors were Reid’s guilty pleas, which a garda witness told the court were of relief to the victim.