Man jailed for ‘horrific’ false imprisonment and rape of ex-partner

Defendant locked woman and child (3) in house and threatened to burn property down

A man who imprisoned his ex-partner and three-year-old child and threatened to burn the house down before assaulting and raping the woman has been jailed for 12 years at the Central Criminal Court. File photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times.

A man who imprisoned his ex-partner and three-year-old child and threatened to burn the house down before assaulting and raping the woman has been jailed for 12 years at the Central Criminal Court. File photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times.

 

A man who imprisoned his ex-partner and three-year-old child and threatened to burn the house down before assaulting and raping the woman has been jailed for 12 years.

The man pleaded guilty to carrying out a number of offences, including assaulting the woman and fracturing her jaw during the May 2016 incident.

However, he continues to deny he raped her, a Central Criminal Court sentencing hearing heard. He was found guilty of raping the woman by unanimous jury verdict following a trial in December.

Passing sentence on Monday, Mr Justice Michael White said this was an incident of the “utmost seriousness”, which was all the more serious because it was inflicted on the man’s former partner and the mother of his child.

The judge said the offending was aggravated by the horrific nature of the violence inflicted on the woman. He said a further aggravating factor was the man harassing his former partner for six weeks after the offences.

He said he did not consider the guilty pleas of the man to be “really that beneficial” as the victim had to give evidence in two separate jury trials. He said the only mitigation taken into account were the sad circumstances of the man’s life when he was a young child. He sentenced the man to 12 years imprisonment.

In a victim impact statement read out in court, the woman said she had changed since enduring the “horrific” false imprisonment and sexual assault at the hands of her ex-partner.

“I’m not me any more and I don’t know if I ever will be again,” she said. “I was at your mercy and you showed me none.”

Nightmares

She said she continues to have nightmares of being raped in a burning home as her child screams “mammy”.

She no longer leaves her home unless she has to, has been unable to return to work and has lost friends who were intimidated by the man, she said. She already dreads him being released from custody.

The 32-year-old, who cannot be named to protect his victim’s anonymity, pleaded guilty in July 2018 to assaulting the woman, damaging her phone and producing a carjack handle in the course of an assault at her home in Co Westmeath on May 14th, 2016. He also pleaded guilty to harassing her between May 14th, 2016 and June 30th, 2016.

The man stood trial in July 2018 and was found guilty by a jury of falsely imprisoning the woman, threatening to kill her, threatening to burn her house down and producing knives in the course of the assault.

He was found guilty of rape following a separate trial last year. He has 28 previous convictions, including convictions for assault and false imprisonment.

At an earlier sentencing hearing, a local garda told Paul Carroll SC, prosecuting, that the man and woman had been in a relationship and had a child together, before breaking up. The man had spent a number of years in prison during this time, the court heard.

On the day in question, the man arrived at the woman’s home saying he had some money for the child, who was also present. He had been drinking and continued to drink vodka while in the house, the court heard.

‘Enraged’

He started making advances on the woman, which she rejected, and then became “enraged”, the court heard.

He locked all the doors and windows in the house, started punching the fridge and damaging kitchen implements before he threatened to burn the house down with all three of them in it.

He flicked lighter fuel at her in front of the child, as the woman begged him to stop. He then put a bread knife to her face, saying he was going to kill her. He smashed her phone and jumped on it to ensure it was unusable.

The man then started assaulting the woman — beating her with a car jack handle to the face and hitting her with a dog lead – while the upset child repeatedly asked him to stop.

The man eventually stopped and things calmed down temporarily, the garda said. The woman brought the child upstairs to sleep and lay down. The man then came in to the room and raped the woman while their child slept beside them.

The following morning, the woman managed to get a sim card into another phone in the house and alerted her sister, who came over to the house immediately. The man then fled the scene.

He continued to harass the woman over the following six-week period, phoning her more than 100 times. During his trial, he took the stand and told the jury the woman was “having a go at him”.