Woman raped three times by stranger left feeling ‘like a piece of meat’

Costel Pirvu (38) to be sentenced later over incident in west of Ireland in February 2018

A woman with a mild intellectual disability who was raped three times by a stranger after a night out has told a court that something inside her “was broken and could never be fixed”.

Costel Pirvu (38), formerly of Loughrea, Co Galway, was found guilty of three counts of rape and one of false imprisonment after a nine-day trial at the Central Criminal Court last year. A judge was told on Monday that he continues to maintain his innocence.

His sentencing was adjourned after Justice Eileen Creedon said she needed to see evidence of a submission by Pirvu’s lawyers that he has been attacked while in custody.

Det Garda Adrian Fehily told Éilis Brennan SC, prosecuting, that the offence took place at a town in the west of Ireland in the early hours of February 4th, 2018. The woman, aged 19 at the time, had been out socialising with some friends who walked her halfway home.

She told gardaí­ she saw a man she did not know looking at her and she ran, but he grabbed her and forced her against a black jeep and then to the ground.

The court heard he took off her pants and raped while she struggled to escape, resulting in scrapes and bruises to her arms, legs and back.

The woman said Pirvu refused to let her go home, threatened her and forced her to go back to his apartment. She said she felt if she did not do what he wanted, he would hurt her.

CCTV footage showed Pirvu and the victim walking back towards his apartment, where she told gardaí­ he raped her a further two times and finally let her go the next morning when a friend of his walked in.

Laceration

The woman said she then ran home crying and told her mother, who brought her to the garda station to make a complaint and then to the sexual assault treatment unit (Satu) in Galway. A Satu report stated that the woman had sustained bruises and scrapes to her face, back, breasts, arms, legs and genital area, including a 2mm laceration to her urethra.

Pirvu was arrested that evening, his apartment was searched and a DNA sample taken. He initially denied having met the victim or having left his apartment that night, but when gardaí­ later told him his semen sample matched DNA found on the victim’s body, he said his solicitor had told him to deny everything.

He then admitted meeting the woman but said she had voluntarily gone back to his house where they had had consensual sex.

In a victim impact report read out in court on her behalf, the victim said she feels everything in her life has been going against her since “that horrible night”. She said the accused came behind her, grabbed her and dragged her down the street and kept putting his hand over her mouth so she could not breathe.

“I felt like a piece of meat,” she wrote in her victim impact report. “I tried to fight him and I tried to run away but he was much stronger, he said he was going to kill me if I didn’t do what he wanted me to do.”

The woman said she has told her counsellor that although the bruises on the outside were healing, “something on the inside of me was broken and could never be fixed”.

PTSD

The court heard that she does not feel safe anymore and is all the time watching for who is behind her. She cannot eat or sleep properly and suffers PTSD, nightmares, flashbacks and panic attacks.

She became very depressed and suicidal and was self-harming, telling the court that she felt that her life was no longer her own.

The court heard that Pirvu has three previous convictions in Romania and Germany, including for robbery, attempted rape and assault.

Bernard Madden SC, defending, said his client had arrived in Ireland from Romania in December 2017 and first worked in car-washing and the construction of wooden pallets. Mr Madden said Pirvu has been in prison since August 2018 and that the only visits he gets are from his solicitor.

He said his client had various medical issues including haemorrhoids, stomach and ear problems which he says have not been treated in prison.

Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy said she had been told Pirvu got a beating while in prison but did not know if this was true or not, as she had not been furnished with a prison report she had requested. She adjourned the case for a week so that she can be told when the prison report will be available and she apologised to the victim for the delay in sentencing.