A 25 year old Donegal man who raped his ex-partner in front of their infant child has been sentenced to six years in prison.

The man, who cannot be named, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape of the woman at his home on February 26, 2010.

Judge Garrett Sheehan said he had taken into account the nature of the offence and the “courageous and hopeful note on which the woman concluded her victim impact report.”

The man is now in a new relationship and is expecting a child with his partner who seems to be having an extremely positive influence on him.

Mr Justice Sheehan said he had taken into account the man’s plea of guilty, his remorse and apology.

He said his personal involvement with his daughter’s upbringing, prior to the offence, was commendable and added that being registered a sex offender is a vey real punishment which will impact on his life once he is out of prison.

He suspended the final two years of the sentence but added that the man “still has a way to go to really understand the impact this offence has had on his first family”.

The man and the victim lived together and had a child before they separated in 2009.

They took turns to mind the child and on the day of the attack the woman was leaving it with her partner at his home. They both washed and played with the child before putting her to bed in her cot.

The man then attacked his ex-partner and held her on the bed. He tried to rape her several times before succeeding while the baby was in the room.

During the rape, the victim was shouting to stop and he threatened to tie her to the bed. Afterwards he refused to return the child to her and threatened her with revenge if she went to gardai. She promised not to and he let her go.

When the victim got home her mother noticed she was pale and asked what was wrong.

The woman said she had been raped and gardai were called. He was arrested and denied having any sexual contact with the woman. DNA evidence was later found linking him to the rape.

Defence counsel, Mr John Whelan SC, said his client “misread the situation” and had the impression the sex was consensual. He said he stopped once he realised the woman wasn‘t consenting.

Mr Whelan called it a “once-off, spur of the moment incident” and said the man pleaded guilty to spare his partner the ordeal of trial.

He said the man is of ‘limited intelligence’ and fell into drugs after dropping out of school.

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