A Congolese man has been jailed for eight years for the “violent forceful rape” of a woman.
Erick Mukoko (32) committed the offence after the woman refused a kiss from him at a flat where she had been socialising with a friend after a night out.
Mukoko, formerly of Thomas Street, Limerick, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape at a location in the city in May 2017. He has no previous convictions.
Mr Justice Michael White described the offence as a “very serious violent forceful rape” and noted the impact on the victim had been devastating. He said the woman had been a “social visitor” to the flat with nothing of any sexual nature involved.
He took into account in mitigation Mukoko's guilty plea.
Mr Justice White imposed eight years imprisonment. He said he did not feel it was appropriate to suspend any portion but ordered two years post-release supervision if he remains in Ireland.
The woman outlined to the court in her victim impact statement that she suffers anxiety, depression, and panic attacks on a daily basis and had tried to take her own life following the rape. She said she had also taken alcohol to black out what happened. She finds it hard to trust people or socialise.
“I am not going to allow what he did to control my life any more,” she said, describing how she had the support of her family and hoped to get back to the person she had been before the attack.
Garda Aoibheann Prenderville told Ann Marie Lawlor SC, prosecuting, that Mukoko was not known to the woman. She had been out socialising with others with whom she had gone to a flat in the city.
During the evening the woman ended up alone in the sitting room with Mukoko and this is where the rape occurred. The woman said she was shouting, saying no, and fighting to close her legs.
She said she was bleeding afterwards and went to wake up her friend in a state of high distress.
Gardaí identified Mukoko as a suspect and he denied the allegations or knowing the woman during interview. The woman informally identified Mukoko as the perpetrator to gardaí after he declined a formal identification process.
A swab of semen taken from the woman matched a DNA profile from Mukoko.
Gda Prenderville agreed with defence counsel that there had been “great fun and laughing” at the apartment prior to the rape. The garda agreed with counsel that Mukoko had asked the woman for a kiss and when she said no, then “the non-consensual and disgraceful sexual act” occurred.
She agreed Mukoko was then asked to leave the apartment, that he apologised before he left, and later made Facebook communication with the woman to say he should not have done what he did.
Defence counsel submitted to the court there had been alcohol taken and there may have been a “misreading of signals”.
Counsel said Mukoko's father had died under unexplained circumstances in prison in Congo and the family had to move.
Mukoko had been in Ireland for eight months at the time of the offence, having come to Ireland through his brother's visa, and asking leave to remain on the basis of reunifying families.
Counsel asked the court to take into account his client's acknowledgement of guilt which meant the woman did not have to give evidence during a trial.