Eight life sen­tences up­held for man who raped mother and daugh­ter

New Ross Standard - - NEWS -

A MAN given eight life sen­tences for rap­ing a mother and daugh­ter, his then girl­friend, in ‘every con­ceiv­able’ way has had his sen­tence up­held by the Court of Ap­peal.

The 49-year-old Wex­ford man, who can­not be named to pro­tect the vic­tims’ iden­ti­ties, pleaded guilty at the Cen­tral Crim­i­nal Court to rap­ing the two women in var­i­ous ways be­tween July 2 and July 5, 2015 at lo­ca­tions in Dublin. He also pleaded guilty to false im­pris­on­ment, at­tempted rape, ag­gra­vated bur­glary, mak­ing threats to kill and ag­gra­vated sex­ual as­sault.

The fa­ther-of-four was on bail at the time for kid­nap­ping and se­ri­ously as­sault­ing the same girl­friend for which he was sub­se­quently given three­and-a-half years in jail. He had a pre­vi­ous con­vic­tion for re­peat­edly rap­ing his daugh­ter be­tween 2000 and 2004 when she was aged be­tween 11 and 15.

In sen­tenc­ing the man to life im­pris­on­ment on each of the eight counts be­fore him, Mr Jus­tice Pa­trick McCarthy said the of­fences fell into the “wholly ex­cep­tional” cat­e­gory that de­served a life sen­tence. His eight life terms were to run con­cur­rently.

He lost an ap­peal against sen­tence with the Court of Ap­peal hold­ing that, while dis­cre­tionary life sen­tences were rare, a com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors in this case meant life in prison was ‘ap­pro­pri­ate’.

Giv­ing judg­ment in the three­judge court, Pres­i­dent of the Court of Ap­peal Mr Jus­tice Ge­orge Birm­ing­ham said there were fac­tors present which tended to put the of­fend­ing into the ex­cep­tional cat­e­gory. There were two com­plainants, a mother, aged 60, and daugh­ter and three sep­a­rate in­ci­dents were com­mit­ted within days of each other. Each of­fence was very se­ri­ous and each one in­volved gra­tu­itous vi­o­lence.

Mr Jus­tice Birm­ing­ham said the of­fences against the mother were com­mit­ted in her home to which force­ful en­try was gained, vi­o­lat­ing her sanc­tu­ary. She was a vul­ner­a­ble in­di­vid­ual who was largely house­bound. The in­ci­dent was pro­longed, last­ing two hours and 40 min­utes, and a brief sum­mary of the facts gave ‘some in­di­ca­tion of how ap­palling was what fol­lowed’.

The rape of the mother in­volved the pro­duc­tion of a knife, punch­ing, re­straints, the stuff­ing of a head band and bra into her mouth, threats to kill her and to cut her throat ac­com­pa­nied by threats that the man would stay the night and cut her daugh­ter’s throat when she re­turned the fol­low­ing day.

There was anal, oral and vag­i­nal pen­e­tra­tion per­pe­trated by some­one who, days ear­lier, had been in­volved in two sep­a­rate in­stances di­rected against the vic­tim’s daugh­ter who hap­pened to find her­self lis­ten­ing to part of the at­tack on her mother on her mo­bile phone.

The court heard that the mother was saved when her daugh­ter heard the rape tak­ing place in the back­ground of a voice­mail the at­tacker had left her by ac­ci­dent.

Mr Jus­tice Birm­ing­ham, who sat with Mr Jus­tice John Ed­wards and Mr Jus­tice John Hedi­gan, said the Court of Ap­peal was not per­suaded the sen­tences were un­duly se­vere and the ap­peal was dis­missed.

He said the sen­tenc­ing judge may have re­served im­pos­ing life sen­tences for the most se­ri­ous of the of­fences and im­posed con­cur­rent de­ter­mi­nate terms in re­spect of those which would not have quite reached the same level of se­ri­ous­ness. How­ever, the de­ci­sion to im­pose eight life terms did not seem to have any prac­ti­cal im­pli­ca­tions, the judge said.

The man’s bar­ris­ter, Do­minic McGinn SC, sub­mit­ted that his client should have been given a de­ter­mi­nate sen­tence rather than a life term as a con­se­quence of plead­ing gui­tly.

Mr McGinn said his client de­served sub­stan­tial credit for plead­ing guilty as it saved the vic­tims the trauma of hav­ing to give ev­i­dence in court. That trauma was ex­po­nen­tially in­creased by the grav­ity of the of­fence, he sub­mit­ted, adding that the credit for his client’s guilty plea should have re­flected that scale. He said any ac­cused who feels they might be fac­ing a life sen­tence in the fu­ture, had no in­cen­tive to plead guilty.

Coun­sel for the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions, Roisín Lacey SC, said the sen­tenc­ing judge set out the rea­sons why he be­lieved the man’s guilty plea was not suf­fi­cient to take this case out of the cat­e­gory where life sen­tences were war­ranted.

Ms Lacey said the ev­i­dence against the man was ‘crush­ing’ and an ac­quit­tal was not likely on any ra­tio­nal ba­sis.

She said the of­fend­ing was ‘egre­gious’ and the lev­els of vi­o­lence ‘ highly ex­plo­sive’. The daugh­ter was ‘vi­ciously raped’ in ‘ every con­ceiv­able ori­fice’ as was her mother. She was raped at knife­point and with re­straints. There was the in­flic­tion of cuts and the bit­ing of her face. Ms Lacey said the mother was raped in her home, a place where she was 90% con­fined due to arthri­tis and which was ‘very much her cas­tle’.

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