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'I'm ecstatic that this monster is going away for 12 years': Woman raped at gaming convention speaks out

Dominique Meehan has spoken out about the impact the rape has had on her life.

A WOMAN WHO was raped at a gaming convention two years ago has said the assault left her suicidal and she had to spend time on a psychiatric ward.

Keith Hearne (28) was sentenced to 12 years in jail yesterday for falsely imprisoning and raping Dominique Meehan (24) at a gaming convention at a Dublin hotel in 2015.

Hearne rugby tackled Dominique Meehan to the ground after cornering her in a meeting room at the ArcadeCon convention in the Crowne Plaza hotel in Blanchardstown before telling her, “I could break your neck here and now, would you prefer that?”

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast this morning,  Meehan said she thought it was just a “sick joke” when Hearne locked her in the meeting room.

“I thought he was messing with me but eventually I realised that this wasn’t a joke,” Meehan told Newstalk Breakfast.

“I managed to get him off me twice but the third time he held me down, he told me that he had a knife in his bag. He told me not to move, not to scream. I had to give up at that point.”

The court heard yesterday that his bag contained a prop knife, handcuffs, condoms, a mask and “sadomasochistic” items.

‘It has affected every facet of my life’

Meehan lived with her friends in Letterkenny before the attack but she since had to move home to live with her parents because she couldn’t take care of herself, she said this morning.

“I was suicidal. I was self harming,” she said.

I eventually had to spend a week in a psychiatric ward in Letterkenny. Even now… I’m on constant alert always.

“I’m studying game design in Letterkenny IT and it’s full of men. So I had to learn how to deal with men I didn’t know again, only about four months after my attack.”

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 Meehan at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Blanchardstown on 4 July 2015.

Meehan said that she is “ecstatic that this monster is going away for 12 years”.

However, she said she feels the sentence is too short.

“It’s not a long time, it’s just over a decade. He is going to be out on the streets in 12 years,” she said.

Meehan said she wished to waive her right to anonymity in order to help more people come forward about sexual abuse.

“The same 2000 people will go to the conventions in Ireland. They see the same people all the time and Keith Hearne was one of these people. I didn’t know him, I didn’t know his name but I knew him to see,” she said.

“People at the conventions needed to know how evil this person is and how dangerous he is.”

Outside the court yesterday Meehan said:

People still aren’t taking it seriously. They’re still allowing their staff to go on their own, and while it wasn’t ArcadeCon’s fault that I was on my own, we have to learn from this. If conventions don’t learn from this then it’s going to happen again.

With reporting by Isabel Hayes.

Read:  Man who tied up and raped woman at gaming convention jailed for 12 years

More: Two women in their 50s assaulted in separate attacks in Rathfarnham last weekend

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