A woman raped by a man now on trial accused of carrying out a campaign of harassment and death threats from his prison cell has described being “terrified” by a string of mystery phone calls from men she didn’t know and couldn’t understand.
She and her husband, who cannot be named for legal reasons, gave evidence on Friday in the trial of Michael Murray (50) formerly of Seafield Road, Killiney, Co Dublin.
Murray is accused of advertising her online as a prostitute in 2015, and of doing the same to Dominic McGinn SC, who prosecuted him, and to his own former defence solicitor. He’s also charged with making threats to kill against Mr McGinn and his co-counsel in the 2013 rape trial.
Murray denies these charges, but has pleaded guilty to having an unauthorised mobile phone in prison.
Speaking through an interpreter, the woman told Seán Gillane SC, prosecuting, how she began receiving calls and texts in January 2015 – most of the voices male. “I was terrified. I wondered why so many calls. I didn’t understand why they have my contact number.”
She said she couldn’t remember being shown an ad by gardaí.
Speaking through an interpreter, her husband told the court he received a call on his own phone on February 9th, 2015, from a withheld number.
“I know you and also I know your wife,” the caller told him. “I didn’t do anything. You send me to this prison. We will find out where you are and then you’ll be in trouble,” he heard the voice say.
He said his wife had given him the phone to answer on a number of occasions when unknown numbers phoned and he tried to find out where they got her number.
“I tried to ask – they would say BackPage,” he told Mr White under cross-examination.
“The individual who spoke to you said BackPage – only that one caller?” counsel asked.
“Maybe more, but they would not answer, just hang up,” the witness replied.
He said he only found out the nature of the website after searching online.
A further portion of a garda interview with Murray in May 2015, which was read into evidence last week, was screened for the jury on Friday.
In the tape, Detective Garda Edel Keogan questioned him about the ads on BackPage.com referencing Dominic McGinn, Murray’s former solicitor, and the woman he is convicted of raping.
“These people did not place their phone numbers on the internet – and received calls as a result. Was it your intention that they be harassed?”
“Absolutely, yeah,” Murray replied.
“My harassment was a lot bigger than their harassment. I’m front page of the papers morning noon and night,” he told the detectives.
The trial continues on Monday before Judge Karen O’Connor and a jury.