Jail term for rapist and child abductor increased to 19 years
Michael Murray tied woman up before abandoning her son (4) in city centre late at night
Michael Murray (in blue jumper, hiding behind black bag) whose sentence for the rape and sexual assault of a woman whose child he abducted in the same incident was increased to 19 years following an appeal by the DPP. File photograph: Courts Collins
A man jailed for the rape and sexual assault of a woman whose child he abducted has had his 15-year prison sentence increased to 19 years.
This followed an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Michael Murray (46), formerly of Killiney Oaks, Killiney, Co Dublin, was jailed for 15 years for rape, attempted rape, oral rape and aggravated sexual assault, child abduction, threats to kill or cause serious harm, false imprisonment and theft at a Dublin apartment on February 12th and 13th, 2010.
The Central Criminal Court heard Murray had lured his female victim into an apartment by telling her an elderly woman was dying inside and needed her help.
He tied her up and assaulted her before taking her four-year-old son away, abandoning him in a city-centre square late at night. He returned to the flat where he drugged and raped his victim.
Murray had denied the charges. However, he was found guilty on all counts by an unanimous jury verdict.
The DPP successfully sought a review of Murray’s sentence on the grounds that it was “unduly lenient”.
Setting aside the 15-year sentence on Friday, the three-judge Court of Appeal substituted a sentence of 19 years to date from the same date.
Giving judgment, Mr Justice George Birmingham said a sentence of 15 years was obviously a significant sentence.
But in the Court of Appeal’s view, the combination of the appalling nature of the offence, Murray’s very significant prior record and the “complete absence of mitigation” meant the sentence was “inadequate and inadequate to a significant extent”.
Mr Justice Birmingham said it was “immediately apparent” Murray had an “appalling record” having served “many substantial” prison sentences in respect of serious offences, many involving violence, though none of his recorded convictions were for sexual offences.
It was “simply to state to obvious”, the judge said, that it was an offence of the “utmost seriousness” falling within the most serious category of rape cases involving multiple aggravating factors.
He noted Murray had lured his victim by deception into an apartment where he falsely imprisoned her for more than 13 hours.
Murray abducted her when she was walking her son home from play school.
The assaults on the victim were sustained over 13 hours, except for a brief period when Murray left the apartment with her son to abandon him in the city centre.
He not only threatened to take the victim’s life but also threatened her young son. A number of ties and restraints were used and significant violence was directed against the victim as a result of which she sustained injuries.
She was forced to take drugs which made her drowsy and Murray forced her to engage in humiliating and degrading treatment including forcing her to dress in different clothing.
A number of objects were used to penetrate her vagina and anus. Murray left the victim bound and gagged in the apartment before she eventually freed herself.
The Court of Appeal agreed with the Central Criminal Court judge that there was “absolutely no mitigation here”.
Mr Justice Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Alan Mahon and Mr Justice John Edwards, said a sentence of 20 or 21 years would have been appropriate and the three-judge court would have imposed this sentence had it been called on to do so at first instance.
However, as in other undue leniency cases, where a portion of the sentence under review has been served – and the initial release date is in sight – the court acknowledged that having a sentence increased must be difficult.
He said limited recognition was given to the fact Murray was being sentenced a second time and the court substituted a 19-year prison sentence for the original 15-year term – rather than a 20- or 21-year sentence the court would have imposed had it been sentencing Murray at first instance.
Murray left the court while the judgment was being delivered.