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Man who tied up and raped woman during gaming convention to be sentenced later this year

Keith Hearne (28) told the woman, “I could break your neck here and now, would you prefer that?”

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A MAN WHO tied up and raped a woman in a hotel meeting room during a busy gaming convention will be sentenced later this year.

Keith Hearne (28) told the woman, “I could break your neck here and now, would you prefer that?” before telling her to be a “good girl”.

He then bound her hands with his tie and raped her. When she screamed he told her he had a knife in his bag and would use it if she wasn’t quiet. His bag containing a prop knife, handcuffs, condoms, a mask and “sadomasochistic” items was later found at the scene, the Central Criminal Court heard yesterday.

Hearne of Allenton Drive, Tallaght, Dublin pleaded guilty to two counts of rape, one count of oral rape and one count of falsely imprisoning the woman at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Blanchardstown on 4 July, 2015.

The court heard that the woman wished to waive her right to anonymity. Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy adjourned the sentence to June 19 to get further medical reports.

Defence barrister Michael Bowman SC told the court that Hearne has mental health issues and suffers from a bipolar disorder. He had not taken his medication for some time around the time of the attack.

Garda Lisa Lawler told prosecuting counsel, Shane Costelloe SC, that the now 24-year-old woman was volunteering at the ArcadeCon gaming convention in the hotel on the day in question.

Presentation

The woman was preparing a presentation in a meeting room when Hearne entered the room and sat at the back. The woman became uneasy and moved to leave the room but Hearne locked the door and threw her to the ground.

The attack stopped only when another conference worker entered the room using a hotel key card. Gardaí were called and Hearne was arrested at the scene.

He told gardaí he had gone to the convention in the hopes of getting with another woman. When that woman rejected him he said he had “anger flowing through him” and he then entered the meeting room and attacked his victim.

The woman took the stand and described how she woke up every night crying for months after the attack, “thinking he had come back to finish the job”.

“Before this, I wouldn’t call myself an angry person,” she said. “But now I punch walls, scream and walk out on conversations. I don’t know what to do with this anger.”

The woman described how she has struggled with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, self-harming and suicidal thoughts since she was raped. “People see me smiling and laughing. They don’t see me curled up under a blanket on my sofa,” she said.

She described how she has had numerous piercings and tattoos since the attack “just so I can feel like my body is my own and not something he touched.”

“He may go to prison, but I’m already there because of what he did,” she said.

Mr Bowman said his client engaged in “absolute opportunism and exploitation” of his victim and that there was “no excuse” for what he did. It was an “unspeakable intrusion and violation of her person”, he added.

However, he submitted Hearne has no previous convictions and suffers from a range of conditions, including Aspergers Syndrome, ADHD, dyslexia and bi-polar disorder.

He is now back on his medication and is “remorseful in the extreme”, Mr Bowman said.

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