A Donegal man convicted of repeatedly raping a teenage schoolgirl has been jailed for seven years.
Justice Tara Burns said that the man, now aged 25, treated the woman “almost like a dog” when he raped her in a field.
She said he took advantage of her half interest in him and her drunkenness to subject her to vile and despicable attacks.
The victim, now aged in her 20s, told the Central Criminal Court that the attacks changed her from being a happy, trusting girl who enjoyed life to a fearful traumatised adult who struggles with panic attacks.
The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, denied four counts of rape at two locations in the county on a night in July 2016. After a trial last month a jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts on all counts.
The court heard that the man had met the victim a short time earlier and they had kissed. On the night of the rapes, the victim and her friend planned a camping trip and invited a number of friends but nobody was available to join them.
The man and his friend were contacted and the four met, procured two bottles of vodka and began drinking in a field. They split into pairs and the man and the teenager kissed.
At one point she fell back and the man got on top of her. She tried to get up and he pushed her back. The victim said no but he didn’t listen and raped her.
He then turned her over and anally raped her and then repeated these actions again and again, whispering “good girl” to her. The victim was left with bruising all over her body.
In a victim impact statement the woman told her attacker: “You saw that I was getting drunk, starting to slur my speech. You saw I was more vulnerable. You were able to take control of me”.
After the attack the woman was falling around drunk and the man brought her back to her house and raped her twice again. She doesn’t remember going back to this house.
In her statement she said: “You brought me back to violate me all over again. I couldn’t move. I was so drunk and in so much shock that physically I was there but mentally I was gone.”
She said she experienced shame and fear during a medical examination during which “I cried out in pain”.
She said that she has been traumatised every single day by the attacks.
Just before Ms Justice Burns was due to pass sentence, his counsel handed in a note from the man in which he said apologised to the woman. Aidan Doyle SC, defending, said his client now accepts the jury verdict on the basis that he was reckless as to whether the woman was consenting.
Ms Justice Burns said that it was not open to her to interpret the jury verdict as one of recklessness, noting that the woman had told him no and to stop. After the first series of attacks she had walked back to her friend and became upset and told the man to go away when he approached them.
“Despite this and her drunken state he subjected her to another vile attack, treating her almost like a dog to gratify his sexual desire on a drunk girl,” the judge said.
The judge said she would give him some benefit for the acknowledgement of his guilt and expressions of remorse, despite these coming so late. She reduced an indicated headline sentence of nine years to seven years.
She noted also the mitigating factors of previous good character and the fact that he is a father figure to three young children. The judge also noted the serious effect of the attacks on the victim, and “how broken” she appeared in court.
Doyle said the man continues to have the support of his family and his partner, with whom he has a young child. He noted there was no use of violence and the man has no previous convictions.
After a trial last month, a jury of 10 men and two women found him guilty to two counts of anal rape and two counts of vaginal rape. The case was finalised today after an initial sentence hearing on Monday.
Ms Justice Burns said that it was unfortunate that the defendant acceptance of the jury verdict and his guilt came so late in the day.
“Up to today he had not expressed any remorse and not accepted the verdict. Since then he has thought of his actions,” she said.
She said it was significant in the context where the victim described the man passing her in her local post office and saying “look, there’s that whore”.