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Thursday 30 November 2023 Dublin: 2°C

Man jailed for breaking into home in middle of night and raping former sexual partner

The accused man has been jailed for 10 years.

SCC R Woffenden 1 Richard Woffenden Richard Woffenden

A MAN WHO raped a previous sexual partner after forcing access to her home in the middle of the night has been jailed for ten years.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey at the Central Criminal Court said it was an “arrogant and outrageous assumption” by the accused that because he had previously had sex with the woman he was entitled to enter her house at any time of day or night to have sex.

The court heard that the woman was an alcoholic and had met the man while drinking. She told the court in her victim impact statement that she been sober for a number of weeks at the time of the offence, but began drinking again afterwards.

The now 27-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the victim’s identity, was convicted by a jury following a seven-day trial last November of raping the 54-year-old woman outside her Co Galway home in July 2014. He was acquitted of burglary on the same occasion.

Mr Justice Coffey noted the offence had a significant effect on the woman as well as her daughter who was staying with her that night. He noted the accused had entered by force and that the women had been screaming at him to leave.

A local Garda sergeant gave evidence that the woman’s daughter had sought safety in her bedroom and called gardaí, while her mother left to try and get help. The woman said she was “hustled” down the stairs outside her home by the accused and raped outside the building.

The court heard that a lock on an access door to the woman’s home had been broken.

Mr Justice Coffey took into account mitigating factors including the man’s difficult childhood, low intellectual functioning and his relative youth.

He imposed a ten-year sentence and backdated it to May 2016 to reflect the time the man has spent in custody. He ordered three years post-release supervision.

In a victim impact statement, the woman said she had been off alcohol for a number of weeks prior to the offence but had gone back drinking again afterwards. She said alcohol did not solve her problems but it numbed the pain.

“I know I am an alcoholic and did things I am not proud of, but the trial made me feel like more of a criminal than the man who raped me,” she said.

She said the accused man had treated her “like a dog” and the crime would never leave her.

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