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Rapist and child abductor has 15 year prison sentence increased after appeal

Michael Murray’s sentence has been increased following an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Nov 3rd 2017, 1:22 PM 30,999 48

Updated at 3.10pm

A MAN JAILED for the rape and sexual assault of a woman whose child he abducted in the same incident has had his 15-year prison sentence increased to 19 years following an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Michael Murray (46), formerly of Killiney Oaks, Killiney, in Dublin, was jailed for 15 years for rape, attempted rape, oral rape and aggravated sexual assault, child abduction, threats to kill or cause serious harm, false imprisonment and theft at a Dublin apartment on 12 and 13 February 2010.

The Central Criminal Court heard that Murray had lured his female victim into an apartment by telling her that an elderly woman was dying inside and needed her help.

He tied her up and assaulted her before taking her son (4) away, abandoning him in a city centre square late at night. He returned to the flat where he drugged and raped his victim.

Murray had denied the charges. However, he was found guilty on all counts by a unanimous jury verdict.

The Director of Public Prosecutions successfully sought a review of Murray’s 15-year prison sentence on grounds that it is “unduly lenient”.

The three-judge Court of Appeal acceded to the DPP’s appeal and resentenced Murray to 19 years imprisonment today.

‘A significant sentence’

Giving judgment, Justice George Birmingham said a sentence of 15 years was obviously a significant sentence but in the Court of Appeal’s view, the combination of the appalling nature of the offence, Murray’s very significant prior record and the “complete absence of mitigation” meant the sentences was “inadequate and inadequate to a significant extent”.

Justice Birmingham said it was “immediately apparent” Murray had an “appalling record” having served “many substantial” prison sentences in respect of serious offences, many involving violence, though none of his recorded convictions were for sexual offences.

It was “simply too state to obvious”, the judge said, that it was an offence of the “utmost seriousness” falling within the most serious category of rape cases involving multiple aggravating factors.

The Court of Appeal agreed with the Central Criminal Court judge that there was “absolutely no mitigation here”.

Justice Birmingham, who sat with Justice Alan Mahon and Justice John Edwards, said a sentence of 20 or 21 years would have been appropriate and the three-judge court would have imposed this sentence had it been called on to do so at first instance.

However, as in other undue leniency cases, where a portion of the sentence under review has been served – and the initial release date is in sight – the court acknowledged that having a sentence increased must be difficult.

He said limited recognition was given to the fact Murray was being sentenced a second time and the Court substituted a 19-year prison sentence for the original 15-year term – rather than a 20 or 21-year sentence the court would have imposed had it been sentencing Murray at first instance.

Murray left the court while the judgment was being delivered.

Counsel for the DPP, Seán Gillane SC, submitted to the Court of Appeal that there had been “a constellation of aggravating factors” including pre-meditation, deception, an extraordinary duration of time as well as egregious degradation and humiliation within the offences themselves.

But there was a further feature of aggravation which placed this case not just into the most serious of cases “but in the upper limit of even that range,” Gillane submitted.

“There was an explicit threat to the victim that her child would be killed if she didn’t give in to his sexual depredation” and “there was the placing of the hands on the child’s throat,” Gillane said.

The future safety of her child was made dependent on her cooperation with his deviant desires.

During the assault, Gillane said it became apparent that the child saw his mother tied up and knew there was something “very, very wrong”.

“Almost unimaginably, in the course of being sexually assaulted and raped, she had to explain to her child” that Murray was a bad man and that he [the child] had to keep quiet.

Then there was the removal of the child and abandonment on the Luas tracks at 10pm at night, counsel said.

Murray finished his attack on the victim and left her bound and gagged. After a period of time, she ultimately freed herself and alerted people in her building.

Gillane pointed to this period of time where she knew her child was no longer in the building and had been removed by the man who had threatened to kill her child. She spent that period of time not knowing whether her child was dead or alive.

Gillane submitted that the trial judge erred in choosing 15 years as a starting point for the sentence before mitigation – of which there was none.

Giving background facts to the case on the occasion that Murray lost an appeal against his conviction, Justice Birmingham said that at 4.10pm on the date in question, the complainant, a young Chinese woman, was walking home from work in the Smithfield area of Dublin accompanied by her four-year-old child when she was “lured” into an apartment by Murray on the false basis that there was a sick lady inside who needed help.

Thereafter, Murray locked them both into the apartment and subjected to the woman to an “escalating and relentless ordeal of rape, attempted rape, sexual degradation and violence, drugging her, binding and gagging her and threatening to kill both her and her young son”.

The episode was said to have lasted until Murray left the apartment at 5.30am, leaving her tied up in the bath. Murray had left the apartment at an earlier stage when he took her son away and “deposited him” on the street sometime around 10pm.

The trial was fully contested and Murray advanced a defence that the woman was a prostitute or escort who had been working for him in an agency that he ran. This proposition was utterly rejected by her.

Read: Reports that UK police are investigating sexual assault claims against Kevin Spacey

More: RSA says people may have been killed or injured because of falsified breath tests

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Ruaidhrí Giblin


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