Man (49) jailed for raping sleeping woman in public park

Victim (20) says she fears the world and has not felt safe since July 2019 attack

A man has been jailed for raping a woman who was sleeping in a public park after becoming separated from her friends on a night out. Image: iStock.

A man has been jailed for raping a woman who was sleeping in a public park after becoming separated from her friends on a night out. Image: iStock.

 

A man has been jailed for 5½ years for raping a woman who was sleeping in a public park after becoming separated from her friends on a night out.

Dermot O’Connor (49) was sleeping rough in the park on the night when the 20-year-old woman, who was clearly intoxicated, came in and found a secluded place to sleep.

He initially sexually assaulted the woman while she was sleeping and left, but later returned to rape her.

O’Connor, of St John Terrace, World’s End, Kinsale, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape at the park on July 21st, 2019.

The now 22-year-old woman read her victim impact statement into the record.

She said that prior to the rape she suffered with anxiety and depression. She became separated from her work friends that night and went to sleep outside.

She found a secluded spot she was familiar with and felt safe and “out of harm’s way”.

“Instead, I woke to find the accused man raping me. I first thought I was dreaming but when I realised what was happening, I was petrified and pretended to be asleep,” she said.

‘I never feel safe’

Since the attack she said that “every man feel likes a potential danger. Even men I have known all my life. I never feel safe”.

She said she had to change her job so she would not be in contact with so many people but is terrified of being alone.

“I fear the world. I feel this constant vulnerability. I am waiting for the next bad thing to happen. I feel very lonely.”

She said she is happy O’Connor pleaded guilty “and people will know that I was telling the truth”.

The woman thanked the investigating garda for his assistance in the case.

Mr Justice Michael MacGrath had adjourned the case having heard evidence last Monday. He said it had been an opportunistic attack on a vulnerable and isolated young woman that had a lasting impact on her.

He imposed a six year sentence and suspended the final six months taking into account the absence of prior sexual offending and to assist in rehabilitation.