A man who imprisoned, sexually abused and repeatedly assaulted a teenager during a four day "reign of terror" in Co Cavan has been jailed for nine years.
The main male accused (27) subjected the victim to this ordeal after forming the “irrational” view that the victim had “ratted” on him, based on the fact that the victim had not been served a charge sheet upon his release from custody after being found in possession of drugs.
The Central Criminal Court heard that during the ordeal, this man stabbed the victim with a number of knives and cut a crescent shape onto the victim's face, which the court heard in certain circles bears the inference of a "rat scar".
The man also at one point sexually abused the victim with a sex toy.
The court heard that a female co-accused carved the numbers 666 into the victim’s forehead during the incident, while a second male accused, her twin brother , assaulted the victim with a wrench and a dumbbell.
The ordeal came to an end after material recorded during the events and uploaded to social media came to the attention of the victim’s friends and family and they were able to use a tracking device on his phone to locate them. They attended at this address and enabled the victim to escape.
The victim was aged 19 at the time of the offences. None of the parties in the case can be named for legal reasons.
The main male accused pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault, assault causing serious harm, false imprisonment, making threats to kill, assault causing harm and robbery, all at a location in Co Cavan between October 17th and October 20th, 2019.
This accused has a total of 26 previous convictions in this jurisdiction and in Northern Ireland, including convictions for theft, possession of drugs for sale or supply, possession of knives and other articles and public order offences.
The male twin pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and two counts of assault causing harm, while the female twin pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and assault causing harm, all offences at the same location in Co Cavan during the same period.
The male twin has 11 previous convictions, including convictions for assault, theft, criminal damage and public order offences. The female twin has no previous convictions.
The female twin was sentenced last May to four years imprisonment with the final three years and three months suspended. The male twin will be sentenced on Friday.
A local detective sergeant told Patrick Gageby SC, prosecuting, that the victim came to know the main male accused in October 2019 in the context of them having mutual friends.
The detective sergeant said that on October 17th, 2019, the victim and this man went to Dublin where they purchased cannabis and Zopiclone tablets. Their conduct on the bus back to Cavan caused the driver to stop the bus and contact gardaí who arrested both men.
Gardaí searched the two men in a Garda station and found the drugs in the possession of the victim. Both men were released without charge and they retired to the accused’s address.
The detective sergeant said the accused formed the “irrational” view that the victim had “ratted” on him, basing this erroneous view on the fact that the victim had not been served a charge sheet upon his release from custody.
From that point on until the victim’s escape on October 20, the victim was subject to a constant refrain that he had been a rat in some way along with constant threats and actual violence towards him.
The court heard that the victim was not free to leave the house and was effectively kept in the house at the “beck and command” of those inside it. There was also an amount of drug taking going on independently of the assaults.
The main male accused stabbed the victim with a number of knives. He also cut a crescent shape onto the victim’s face, which the court heard in certain circles bears the inference of a “rat scar”.
The victim sustained cuts on his face, arms and body, as well as being hit with implements and subjected to threats that he and his family would be killed by the main male accused. His phone and wallet were also taken during the incident.
The main male accused was joined by two acquaintances, the two co-accused in this case. The male twin hit the victim with a wrench and a dumbbell, while the female twin hit him with a HDMI cable and carved the numbers 666 into his forehead.
The court heard that the co-accused were both present during this offence. This was apparently filmed by the main male accused and while there is no evidence that this was uploaded or circulated, quite an amount of other material recorded during the incident was uploaded.
The victim was given “speed” to keep him awake over the course of the weekend. On two occasions he was forced to leave the address, on the first occasion to go begging for money and on the second to shoplift.
Material uploaded to Snapchat came to the attention of the victim’s friends and family and they were able to use a tracking device on his phone to locate them. They attended at this address and enabled the victim to escape.
Gardaí had also started an investigation on foot of the material and arrested the main male accused at his parents’ home. During interview with gardaí, the main male accused for the most part made no comment to the allegations that were put to him.
In his victim impact statement, which was read before the court by the detective sergeant, the victim said he used to think of the main male accused as a good mate, but not after what happened.
The victim said they used to have a laugh together, but now he cannot laugh at all. He said he is trying to recover from the incident and the accused has scarred him for life.
Mr Justice Michael White said the ordeal had been a "betrayal by friends" for the victim, whom he said was "remarkably understanding" in his impact statement.
Passing sentence on Thursday, Mr White said the main male accused was the “instigator” of the false imprisonment.
Justice White said the nature of the offending was an aggravating factor as the victim was subjected to a “reign of terror” over several days. He said the other aggravating factors were the impact of the violence on the victim and some of the activity being recorded and uploaded online.
He said this was an order of criminality out of character to the main male accused’s previous offending. He noted the accused has had behavioural difficulties since childhood which are aggravated by chronic drug use.
The judge sentenced the main male accused to 11 years imprisonment, but suspended the final two years of the sentence on strict conditions including that he will follow all directions of the Probation Service for two years post release.