A Belfast man who raped a woman he met on Tinder in her own home was given a seven-year sentence on Wednesday.
Thomas Markey was sentenced by Judge Geoffrey Miller QC, who divided the term equally between prison and supervised licence.
The Judge said that despite being convicted by a jury earlier this year of raping the woman in her Bangor, Co Down home in September 2020, Markey has shown no remorse and continues to maintain his innocence.
The 33-year-old father of two appeared for sentencing at Downpatrick Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, via a videolink with Maghaberry Prison.
The court heard Markey, from Torrens Avenue in Belfast, was arrested and charged with rape following an incident involving a woman he met on the Tinder dating app.
After meeting online, Markey and the 31-year-old woman agreed to book an overnight stay at a hotel in Belfast.
The pair booked a room for September 19th, 2020 and planned to have sexual intercourse for the first time while staying at the hotel.
Two days before the arranged overnight stay, Markey took the train from Belfast to Bangor and went to the woman’s house for drinks.
He initially planned to get the train back to Belfast that evening, but as the night progressed a decision was made that he would stay longer so they could spend more time together and he would get a taxi back to Belfast early the following morning.
During the trial, the jury heard that the pair “kissed and cuddled” for a short period before she went to bed and fell asleep.
In the early hours of the morning, she woke from her sleep to find Markey on top of her, having sex with her.
She told him to stop, but he continued.
A taxi was called and Markey left. From the taxi, he sent her a text message at 1.37am which read: “So sorry love. Hope you’re ok. Really didn’t expect that. I really thought everything was ok but obviously not. I’m so sorry. I thought everything was ok. Hope you’re ok xxx.”
While he was travelling back to Belfast in the taxi, the woman ran to a neighbour’s house. She was clearly distressed, and after telling her neighbour what had just happened, the PSNI were alerted.
The woman was spoken to by police and taken for a medical examination, and just before 4am on September 18th, Markey was arrested.
During a police interview, he confirmed he met the woman on Tinder and that they had agreed to wait until the overnight hotel stay to have sex.
When asked what occurred in her home, Markey said the sexual activity between them was consensual.
He also claimed he and the woman had sex twice, and it was only during the second time that she “became frantic” and told him to leave.
As he sentenced Markey, Judge Miller said: “The jury rejected his account and unanimously convicted him on a charge of rape.”
Noting Markey has maintained his innocence, and therefore displayed no remorse for his actions, the Judge spoke of several aggravating factors.
This, he said, included “the fact that the offence occurred in the victim’s home and in her bed where she was entitled to feel safe”.
Judge Miller added: “It occurred in the early hours of the morning when she had been sleeping, and the defendant was a guest who abused her trust.
“She was intoxicated, had been asleep and was therefore vulnerable.
“The defendant knowingly defied and ignored her expressed refusal to have sexual intercourse with him that night.”
As well as getting a seven-year sentence, Markey was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register for an indefinite period and was made the subject of a 10-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order.