Woman raped by friend who 'used and abused her' in Donegal home

Woman raped by friend who 'used and abused her' in Donegal home

Isabel Hayes

A woman who was raped by her friend during an hour and a half attack in her home has described how he “used and abused her” when she was vulnerable.

The 38-year-old man, who had been friends with the woman for seven years, pleaded guilty to orally raping her during a prolonged attack in her Donegal home on August 9th, 2017.

A charge of attempted rape, two counts of sexual assault and a count of criminal damage were taken into consideration, the Central Criminal Court heard today.

Kerida Naidoo SC, prosecuting, told the court that the man, who can't be named to protect the woman's anonymity, rang her on the evening of the date in question and asked if he could come around for drinks.

She agreed, but was surprised when the man arrived with another man, whom she didn't know. This man's case is still before the courts and cannot be reported on, Mr Justice Michael White ruled.

Attack

During the course of the evening, her friend kept trying to ply her with vodka, but she refused, saying she preferred cider. He then started grabbing her breasts.

The woman told the man to stop, but she was then dragged into the bedroom and raped, the court heard. During the course of the attack, the woman was screaming and “in an awful lot of pain”, a local detective garda told the court.

The attack went on for about an hour and a half before both men eventually left and the woman contacted gardaí. She was taken to a Sexual Assault Treatment Unit.

In a victim impact statement read out by a detective, the woman said she thought the man was her friend. “But he attacked me, raped me and sexually assaulted me in my home,” she said.

Alcoholism

The woman outlined a previous tragedy in her life, which led to her battling with alcoholism.

“(He) knew my circumstances and took advantage of my vulnerable state,” she said. “I thought he was my friend, but he used and abused me.”

The woman said she had previously suffered with anxiety and panic attacks, but these have worsened considerably since the incident. She said she has been sober now for over three years.

No memory of night

When interviewed by gardaí, the man said he had previously had consensual sex with the woman, but denied being in her home on the night in question. When shown CCTV footage of him at her home, he maintained he had no memory of that night.

The man's DNA was found on the woman's underwear, the court heard.

He has five previous convictions, mostly for public order offences.

Shane Costelloe SC, defending, said his client was “deeply sorry” for his actions that night. He submitted his client was on pain medication and anti-depressants at the time and had drunk a litre of vodka when he committed the offence.

Mr Costelloe said his client had been in a brief, intimate relationship with the woman in the month prior to the attack.

Mr Justice White adjourned the matter to May 19th for finalisation. He praised the woman for her “tenacity” in managing to recover from a drinking problem at a time of so much distress. “I want to pay tribute to you,” he said.

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