Limerick man who made death threats through Facebook to rape victim is jailed

Man (26) pleaded guilty to raping the then 19-year-old woman in November 2015

The man admitting intimidation of a witness and attempting to pervert the court of justice on subsequent dates in November 2015. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

The man admitting intimidation of a witness and attempting to pervert the court of justice on subsequent dates in November 2015. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

 

A Limerick man who made death threats through Facebook to a woman he had raped has been jailed for six years.

The man (26), who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, pleaded guilty to one count of raping the then 19-year-old woman in November 2015 at a place in Co Limerick.

He also admitting intimidation of a witness and attempting to pervert the court of justice on subsequent dates in November 2015.

The victim knew the man’s family and agreed to go to the defendant’s house on the date in question after he told her he was having a party.

When the woman arrived at the home, she discovered there was nobody else there and the man then raped her.

The court heard that two weeks after the rape, the victim’s sister started getting Facebook messages from a fake profile set up by the defendant, claiming to be a friend of his.

The 11 messages threatened the two sisters to drop the charges against him. Some of the messages read as follows: “Tell your sis she dead [SIC)]”, “She has til Monday to drop all charges cos dat fella [SIC)]did nothing to her”, “You’re getting it and so will she. You will be getting killed.”

The sisters were frightened and made a written complaint to gardaí­. The man admitted having sent all the messages and said he hadn’t intended to do them any harm but said he’d “chance it”.

Garda Jason Mitchell told Mary Rose Gearty SC, prosecuting, that the 19-year-old woman was on good terms with the man’s family and had known the defendant from Facebook.

In a victim impact statement read out in court on her behalf, the woman said the rape changed her life forever and that her trust in people went away.

“I was afraid to go outside my own door. I couldn’t sleep for a long time. It made me feel small and worthless and that it was all my fault. It took me a very long time to realise that this was not the truth,” she said.

She added that she lives in fear of meeting the man or his family.

Mr Justice Michael White said the man’s attempt to intimidate was a ham fisted effort to cover his tracks. He said it was an aggravating factor.

He noted a mental health assessment which states the man has a very low IQ. He also said his early plea of guilty is a significant mitigating factor and saved the victim having to give evidence at trial.

Mr Justice White had made it a condition of the man’s bail that he keep away from where the woman lives and to have no contact with her, including by way of Facebook, telephone, email or any other means.