A man who raped his girlfriend in what was described as a “degrading and humiliating” way following “a one-sided boxing match” has been jailed for 10 years.
The 35-year-old Dublin man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the woman, had pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to assaulting the woman causing her harm on November 9th, 2018.
He had pleaded not guilty to a charge of anal rape, oral rape, two charges of rape and one charge of sexual assault between November 9th and November 10th, 2018 in a Dublin home, but was convicted by a jury, on all charges following a trial late last year.
He was on bail for a vicious assault on a former girlfriend at the time. Judge Elma Sheahan sentenced the man to two and a half year's imprisonment for that assault, but suspended the final six months of the sentence on strict conditions after he had pleaded guilty to assaulting that woman causing her harm in February 2018.
Mr Justice Alex Owens imposed concurrent sentences totalling 13 years with the final three years suspended for the multiple rapes, assault and sexual assault offences. He noted that despite his “limited remorse” the man indicated a willingness to engage with some courses while in prison and has not been abusing alcohol.
The sentence has to be consecutive to the earlier sentence imposed for assaulting his former partner and was backdated to the date that the sentence ended in May 2020.
'Distorted attitude towards women'
Mr Justice Owens also imposed a seven-year post release supervision order on the man after he said he has “an entrenched distorted attitude towards women that results in controlling and violent behaviour”.
“He will still be a youngish man at the time of his release and still be physically well able of violent and sexual offending,” the judge continued, before he added that because the man is prone to paranoia there is “a high risk of violence against an intimate partner if he doesn’t stay away from alcohol”.
“There is a need to protect the public from serious harm from the man. He is dangerous, and he is likely to continue to be dangerous on his release from prison,” Mr Justice Owens said and added that the standard post release supervision order was usually two to three years.
The court heard at a previous sentence hearing that the man became annoyed when his girlfriend was late meeting him after she missed her bus. He became jealous and believing that she was seeing another man, he beat her in what the judge described as “a one-sided boxing match”.
Mr Justice Owens said that what followed was “degrading” and “humiliating” and an attempt by the man “to control, to teach her a lesson as to who was the boss and what would happen if she went with other men”.
The court heard that the man raped the woman following the attack. She later awoke in the middle of the night to him sexually assaulting her before he raped her again. He told her during the second incident that he could not bear it if she went with another man.
The judge commented that the woman “sought to placate” the man in the hope that she could “extradite herself from her predicament”.
'Glad to be alive'
During his subsequent questioning by gardaí the man claimed he had consensual sex with the woman after he had hit her.
“He underplayed the seriousness of the physical assault and said that they had made up and had consensual sex,” Mr Justice Owens before he said the photographs of the woman’s injuries provided to the court demonstrated the severity of the physical attack.
Mr Justice Owens said the man’s behaviour was “acts of sexual degradation in order to teach someone a lesson, an exercise of control rather than sexual gratification” and in his view was at the top end of offending.
“He is not the first offender to come before me on multiple rapes relating to the one incident,” the judge continued, before he added that a warning must go out to others who might consider the same behaviour.
“A long sentence of incarceration will be the consequence of such offending,” he said before he commented that he suspected potential rapists may be influenced by “violent pornography”.
The judge said the aggravating factors in the case were the repeated violence against women in a domestic setting demonstrated by the man and the enormous harm caused to the woman in this case.
He noted that a victim impact statement before the court indicated that the woman felt “glad to be alive and lucky to have survived the assault”.
The report said her heart and mind are gone despite putting on “a normal appearance”. She wakes up every night and relives the “terrible experience”.
Mr Justice Owens said he had concerns over the conclusions reached by a probation officer as outlined in a report prepared by the Probation Service.
“Some of her conclusions do not sit well with the evidence. I have serious concerns over her conclusion that the man has any capacity for empathy,” the judge said after he acknowledged that the probation officer was “relying, unfortunately, on what he was telling her”.
He said he found the man’s account for the officer to be “dishonest and self-serving”.
The judge accepted that the man had a “fractured upbringing”, that a former girlfriend had died in tragic circumstances and that he and his young son had periods of homelessness.
“He had a life of hopelessness for a number of years and may have been clinically depressed. He appears to have lacked motivation for a number of years and alcohol has been a great problem for himself and for those who have been unfortunate enough to deal with him,” Mr Justice Owens said.
He said the man’s alcoholism has been “wrecking his and other people’s lives” since he was a teenager.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800 77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help.
In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112.