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Man jailed for five years for rape after being tracked down selling a phone on DoneDeal

30-year-old Martin Sherlock had raped the woman at her Dublin home in August 2015 after meeting her on dating app Badoo.

SCC Rolling 5 Source: Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews.ie

A MEATH MAN has been jailed for five years for raping a woman he met on online dating app Badoo after he was caught through “ingenious detective work” on the part of investigating gardaí.

Martin Sherlock (30) and the woman had arranged to meet but she told him they could not have sex without a condom. She started to feel uncomfortable during other sexual activity and said he did not stop when she said “no”. She later realised he had ejaculated inside her.

Prosecuting counsel, Eilis Brennan BL, told the Central Criminal Court that the key issue in the case was that the victim had said no to sex without a condom.

The woman said she thought Badoo was “a way to meet boys”, but she did not know how to talk to them and said they just wanted sex after meeting.

Sherlock of Navan, Co Meath, had pleaded not guilty to raping the woman at her Dublin home on 14 August 2015. He had admitted stealing the woman’s mobile phone.

Wedding plans cancelled

He was convicted following a four-day trial after just over five hours of deliberations. He has no previous convictions.

The court heard Sherlock has since lost his job and his wedding plans have been cancelled.

Gardaí arrested Sherlock following a “sting” operation in which gardaí arranged to meet him as he was selling a phone through DoneDeal. He told gardaí: “I know she said no, but we had already started.”

Today Justice Patrick McCarthy noted that the woman had previously been diagnosed with a mental illness and had stated in her victim impact report that she kept telling herself she had “been an idiot”.

“This couldn’t be further from the truth. She trusted someone and he abused her trust,” the judge said.

He acknowledged that Sherlock was entitled to have a trial but said that in doing so he had lost “the single most significant factor” in terms of mitigation, a plea of guilty.

Justice McCarthy said “sentencing is not an exercise in vengeance” before he added that he had also taken into account testimonials from both Sherlock’s fiancée and mother.

He said the letters appealed to him as to how he should deal with sentencing. “This is inappropriate,” the judge said but said he understood why they would do so “on a human level”.

‘Otherwise of good character’

Justice McCarthy noted that Sherlock had plans to marry in August but said this was not possible as “obviously a custodial sentence is warranted”.

He noted that Sherlock was “otherwise of good character” before he jailed him for five years and directed that he be subject to three years post release supervision.

At the earlier sentence hearing, Blaise O’Carroll SC, defending, said Sherlock was “profoundly sorry” for the events and wished to apologise to the woman. Counsel said the effect of the publicity around the case had been devastating for Sherlock.

The court heard testimonials from family members and from Sherlock’s fiancée who described him as a “caring, kind, generous and shy man”.

The court heard Sherlock’s defence was that the sex had been consensual. He admitting hearing some “nos” but after some stopping and starting, thought she was happy to go forward.

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About the author:

Fiona Ferguson and Sonya McLean

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