'It impacts so much on your life': Cork victim speaks out after man who attacked her is jailed 

The victim, who has spoken out about her experience, said people who videotaped her should have come to her assistance instead.
'It impacts so much on your life': Cork victim speaks out after man who attacked her is jailed 

Sexual assault victim Rachel McElroy pictured at Cork Criminal court. Picture: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Cork Courts Limited

A student who was sexually attacked by a man on the side of the street in a degrading manner was video-recorded by other people passing by and now the assailant has been sentenced to six years in jail.

The victim, who has spoken out about her experience, said those people who videotaped her should have come to her assistance instead.

Bagrat Kudzievi, 29, was given a seven-year jail term with the last year suspended at the Central Criminal Court in Cork. He was convicted last October after a trial on two counts of sexual assault of Rachel McElroy at locations in Cork city centre on the night of October 19, 2019. He had denied the charges.

Ms Justice Tara Burns said, “The facts of the case portray every young woman’s worst nightmare. It started with a group of young women going out with friends on a night out. 

"This was an innocent night out – a bunch of innocent young women out enjoying themselves and having a relatively small amount of alcohol. For whatever reason it had a very significant effect on her.

“CCTV shows her in a very incapable state within the nightclub. She sat beside the accused in the smoking area at 10.20 pm. Within ten minutes they were outside engaged in the most intimate acts with people walking by filming them.

“The accused – having been interrupted by women shouting at them – carried her across the bridge. He put her on the footpath – he was on top of her in a grinding motion, with cars passing.” 

She was 18 at the time. The accused man, Bagrat Kudzievi, an accomplished martial arts athlete from Georgia, was then 27.

Bagrat Kudzievi of Albert Road, Cork city, who was jailed for six years for what a judge described as “degrading” sexual assaults on a student outside a Cork city nightclub in 2019.Picture: Cork Courts Limited
Bagrat Kudzievi of Albert Road, Cork city, who was jailed for six years for what a judge described as “degrading” sexual assaults on a student outside a Cork city nightclub in 2019.Picture: Cork Courts Limited

Ms Justice Burns said of the victim, “She was filmed by strangers in a state of undress. 

"As sexual assaults go, this was extremely serious.” 

The judge imposed a sentence of seven years, with the last year suspended, and she backdated the sentence to when he went into custody in October 2019. 

Victim said speaking out about the crime had helped her

The injured party, Rachel McElroy, waived her anonymity and said she was glad she had done so as speaking about the crime had been a great help to her – even speaking about it to strangers. She also felt it would encourage others to speak about sexual crimes committed against them.

Rachel McElroy described Detective Garda Donal Daly of the Protective Services Unit of An Garda Síochána as acting as a father figure for her. 
Rachel McElroy described Detective Garda Donal Daly of the Protective Services Unit of An Garda Síochána as acting as a father figure for her. 

“The sentence was a better outcome than what I expected. I thought he would get less. I am very happy.

“I want other girls and boys (who are victims of sexual crimes) to know it is never OK to hold it back in. It impacts so much on your life. I feel overwhelmed by the amount of help I have got.

“This was my first college night out with my friends. It is a night I have no memory of – only being in the garda station having my mouth swabbed.

“(In the aftermath) I did turn to drink for a time. I had my family and friends to support me.” 

Support from gardaí

She described Detective Garda Donal Daly of the Protective Services Unit of An Garda Síochána as acting as a father figure for her. 

“He was constantly ringing me and my family every day – checking up on me, checking up on my family, bringing us out for coffee, cheering us up,” Ms McElroy said.

As for the unanimous guilty verdicts she said that what mattered more than anything was being believed.

Asked about the video-recording of the assault on her by strangers passing, she said, “I found it very disrespectful. If that was their daughter or sister, would they like that? I was really disgusted at that when I found it. 

"To think they could have helped but they would rather take a video and put it on social media. That made me very angry.” 

A jury delivered unanimous guilty verdicts against the accused on two counts of sexual assault at the Central Criminal Court.

The bar manager at a Cork city centre nightspot followed the young man and woman from the premises because he felt “something was not sitting right” 

This witness said at an earlier hearing, “Once they stopped, they moved on a bit and you could see the girl was fairly intoxicated and was being carried up the road – she was kind of being carried. (The man) was walking steadily enough.

“I contacted another manager for his opinion on it. He hopped into his car to spin around the block,” he said.

The other manager testified, “The red flag was she was trying to walk away and he kept pulling her back. It was around 10.30/10.40 pm. 

"The best way I can describe it is, he kept coaxing her up the road. She tried to walk away on a couple of occasions and he kept pulling her back, coaxing her up the road. 

"I told (other manager) something was not sitting right.” 

A short time later he saw both of them on the side of the road and both had their pants down. We grabbed the man by the arm and held him against the wall. He wasn’t fighting back or anything like this. He had everything down. His privates were still out. Her pants and underwear were down… She was very slurred, very disoriented. She was distressed, she was crying, she was speaking gibberish.”

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