Eight life sentences upheld for man who raped mother and daughter
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’.