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Wicklow Court

2.5 year jail term for Wicklow man who sexually assaulted 'comatose' woman

The incident was filmed and the footage was discovered when another man was involved in a car accident the following day.

A COUNTY WICKLOW man has been handed a prison sentence after he sexually assaulted a young woman who was unconscious.

The incident was filmed and the footage was only discovered by gardaí when another man was involved in a car accident the following day.

The 19-year-old victim was out socialising with friends in July 2014 when they met two men in their early 20s.

They all went back to the house of the man who was later involved in a car accident. All five slept in the same room and, as far as the three women were aware when they woke, nothing sexual had occurred.

One of the men offered to drive them home and, as he returned from dropping them off, he was involved in a car accident. As part of their investigation into the crash, gardaí accessed his phone.

On it they found three separate clips of the young woman being assaulted in the early hours of the morning.

“She was in a comatose condition,” state prosecutor Paul Murray told Wicklow Circuit Court last Friday.

The videos were of 38 seconds, three minutes and 24 seconds, and 22 seconds respectively.

One of the videos was sent to the phone of the defendant by Whatsapp.

Gardaí said that while it was probable, they could not say definitively that the man involved in the crash had taken the footage on his mobile phone himself.

The three videos show the defendant performing a variety of sexual acts on the woman.

In the second clip, he makes reference to “going in for the kill” and, at one point when the victim stirs, he tells her to relax and go to sleep, saying “I’ll look after you”. He says three times: “I will ruin her”.

The woman told gardaí that she did not know what had gone on and that she would not have let him touch her or video her.

Victim impact 

In a victim impact statement, she said that the man had done an “evil and disgusting” thing to her.

“I hate being made a victim by this man,” she said. “I am a strong person.”

When approached by gardaí, the man said the woman had been attracted to him. However, when they showed him the footage, he became non-cooperative in the interview.

A barrister for the defendant said that her client offered a full, sincere and abject apology. She said that he had difficulty understanding what he had done.

She produced a file outlining 20 psychotherapy sessions, as well as references from a number of people, including his girlfriend who was standing by him.

The court heard that the defendant had a difficult relationship with his mother. However, his father and sister were with him in court and he had their support.

Judge Michael O’Shea said that the woman was perfectly entitled to be out socialising.

“She was perfectly entitled to fall asleep and believe she would be safe,” he said.

Judge O’Shea said the defendant had exploited the situation to the maximum and that the victim “couldn’t put up any fight or objection”.

“He was in a position to take maximum unfair and shocking advantage of her. She was at his complete mercy,” said the judge.

He said that the man’s demeanour demonstrated utter disrespect for the woman.

“It appears that it would never have come to light if the accident had not happened and the phone not found,” he said.

Judge O’Shea called the assaults “disgusting, disgraceful, vile, revolting, shocking, horrific and degrading”.

He said that the mitigating circumstances, which he was obliged to take into consideration, included his guilty plea, the remorse expressed, and that he was at the lower end of risk to reoffend.

The man was sentenced to three five-year sentences, running concurrently, and with the final two-and-a-half years of each suspended.

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