A 44-year-old man who invaded the home of a 20-year-old woman to sexually assault her and tell her she would wake up beside him avoided a jail sentence yesterday.
Donal Quirke of Beech Walk, Clann Ard, Fermoy, County Cork, was sentenced to two years which Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin suspended on condition that he would stay away from the victim and keep the peace.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said, “Obviously this was a very distressing matter for the victim. This happened to her in her own home. In effect he invaded her home, he was aggressive and not amenable to reason.
“You can understand the upset she genuinely felt. On the night this man was completely intoxicated to such an extent he could not be reasoned with by her, by her boyfriend or indeed her father.”
The judge took into consideration the steps taken by the defendant to rehabilitate in relation to a drink problem.
“He was examined by the probation service to see if he was a risk now or in the future and found to be a low risk of re-offending,” he said.
Quirke pleaded guilty to a charge of sexually assaulting the young woman at her home, physically assaulting her boyfriend and trespassing in the house.
Sergeant Christopher Murphy who investigated the case testified that the woman was at home with her boyfriend that night and he was upstairs asleep. The young woman heard someone at the front door and presumed it was a relative.
“She opened the door and Donal Quirke barged in without her consent. He was intoxicated and she asked him to leave. He refused.
“He was asking why was she with her boyfriend and said she could do an awful lot better than him,” Sgt. Murphy said.
The defendant asked to use the bathroom. The young woman pretended that there were dogs in one of the rooms, hoping that this pretence would frighten the defendant.
“When he returned from the bathroom his demeanour had changed. He became quite aggressive. He pinned her against the wall and said, ‘you are going to wake up beside me in the morning’.
“He put his hand down the waistband of her pants on to her buttocks and tried to pull down her shorts. She was in fear she was going to be raped. He attempted to kiss her. She ran upstairs and woke her boyfriend,” Sgt. Murphy said.
During an altercation with the young woman’s boyfriend, Quirke said he was going to have sex with the young woman. The injured party’s boyfriend threatened to throw the defendant down the stairs if he did not leave. The young woman’s father happened to arrive at the house and with his assistance, they managed to get Quirke out of the house and call gardaí.
The young woman said in her victim impact statement that since this happened on August 10, 2019 she felt unsafe being anywhere alone and this had placed a burden on her boyfriend and family.
“I am too scared to be by myself. I just hope I can go back to not being scared all the time. The one question I keep asking is why he picked me, why it happened to me?”
Paula McCarthy defence barrister said the defendant had brought €3,000 to court for the victim.
The judge said it would be a matter for the young woman to decide if she wanted to keep this money or give some of it to charity, as had been indicated previously.
Imelda Kelly, prosecution barrister, said the injured party did not want to be identified but there was no issue about identifying Quirke.