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The Central Criminal Court William Murphy via Flickr/CC

Asylum seeker (22) jailed for five years for raping woman

He had met her on a night out and offered her a lift home.

A 22-YEAR-old asylum seeker who raped a woman in Waterford city has been jailed for five years.

Kenneth Udeh met the woman while she was on a night out and raped her after offering her a lift home. The rape stopped when a passer-by scared him away.

Udeh, with an address at Coffee House Lane, Waterford, but originally from Nigeria, pleaded guilty on the day of his trial at the Central Criminal Court to the rape of the woman in Waterford City on 14 September, 2014.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy noted the attack had a serious effect on the woman but also had to take into account that Udeh was a foreign national and had entered a guilty plea.

Backdated sentence

He imposed a five-year sentence which he backdated to reflect the time Udeh has spent in custody.

Judge McCarthy noted that the woman did not think Udeh should be allowed to remain in the country but said that was not a matter for the court to decide.

Udeh came to Ireland in 2009 and had applied for and been refused asylum twice. He is now appealing his position to the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Garda Catriona Savage said that the first time Udeh applied for asylum he said he was a Christian coming from a Muslim country. The second time he claimed he was a homosexual coming from a Muslim country.

In a victim impact report read to the court the woman, who cannot be named, said Udeh “violated” and took “complete advantage of her”.

She said she felt like she didn’t want to live after the rape and that she had nothing to live for. It put severe pressure on her relationship with her partner and it was only through his patience and understanding that the relationship survived, she wrote.

The woman wrote that she felt Udeh has given all black men a bad name and that she was now afraid of black men. She said she won’t get into a taxi now if the driver was black.

“I feel he shouldn’t be allowed remain in the country,” the woman added in her statement.

Details of the case

Garda Savage told Tara Burns SC, prosecuting, that the victim, who was in her twenties, was out for the night in the city.

In the early hours of the morning she was outside a pub and got chatting to a group of men, including Udeh, who were smoking. She said goodnight to the men and was about to leave when Udeh offered her a lift home. The two then walked to where Udeh said his car was.

The woman said later that the next thing she remembered was being on the ground with Udeh on top of her with his trousers down. She shouted “stop it” and “get off me” but Udeh raped her. He did not wear a condom.

A local man was leaving work late when he saw Udeh and the woman and heard her shouts. He shouted at them causing Udeh to get up and flee. The man and a taxi driver gave chase but lost Udeh.

Tracked down

A female passer-by came to the aid of the victim and gardaí were called. They tracked down Udeh to a hostel near where the men had lost him. In an interview he denied any sexual contact with the woman but this was contradicted by the forensic evidence.

Defence counsel Mary Rose Gearty SC said that he had written a “short and genuine apology” to the woman. Garda Savage said that she didn’t think the victim would accept this.

Counsel said Udeh had been in custody since the offence and submitted that his time in prison would be more difficult for him due to his race and nationality.

Read: Woman raped by asylum seeker says he shouldn’t be allowed to remain in the country>

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Conor Gallagher and Isabel Hayes
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