Ten years' jail for sex attack on woman

 

A 25-YEAR-OLD man has been jailed for 10 years for falsely imprisoning and orally raping a mother of three after he dragged her into a field as she was walking home at a location in Cork last year.

Mr Justice Paul Carney said he found no mitigating factors in the case of the man, who was convicted of four offences following a trial at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork last February.

The jury of eight men and four women found the man guilty of falsely imprisoning the woman, sexually assaulting her and attempted rape, all by unanimous decision. They found him guilty of orally raping her by a 10-2 majority.

The incident happened as the woman was returning home from a local off-licence. She was dragged by the defendant into a field where he held her against her will for about an hour, during which time he attempted to rape her and later orally raped her.

The accused told gardaí after he was arrested that he had had no contact with the woman in the field, but during the trial his senior counsel Blaise O’Carroll said his client’s instructions were that he had had consensual sexual relations with the woman.

Mr Carroll said his client claimed they had walked into the field together, had drink together and that she offered him sex; he did not have intercourse with the woman in case she got pregnant, and instead they had oral sex.

The woman denied this and told the court the man had dragged her into the field and chased her when she made a number of attempts to escape .

“He grabbed me back and pinned me down on the grass so I was helpless. He forced himself down on top of me. He put his hand on my chin. I said, ‘I have a child your age, I am double your age’,” she told the trial.

At sentencing, a detective read out the woman’s victim impact statement, which described how memories of her ordeal continued to haunt her.

“After this happened I tried to commit suicide. I was admitted to a psychiatric ward of a hospital. I was never in a psychiatric ward before. My confidence is not what it was. I jump if anyone comes up behind me. I felt so ashamed, and still do, of what he did to me,” she said.

Sentencing the defendant yesterday, Mr Justice Carney said the two most notable mitigating factors in any case were, firstly, an early plea of guilty and an expression of remorse and, secondly, being of previous good character.

While the accused was entitled to contest the case, he was disentitled to any possible mitigation as a result and his 28 previous convictions counted against him.

Mr Justice Carney had heard the man had been in care from the age of 10 and had a serious drink and drug problem, but he said neither issue offered anything of significance in terms of mitigation.

He said he fully accepted the Director of Public Prosecution’s view that the random nature of the attack and the duration of the incident were aggravating factors that put it at the upper end of the scale of such offences.

He sentenced the defendant to 10 years in jail, backdated to when he was first taken into custody in September 2011, and he ordered that his name be placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.