By Declan Brennan
A Mayo resident has been jailed for five years for raping his former girlfriend.
The 25-year-old man, who cannot be named in order to protect the victim's anonymity, pleaded guilty to rape of the woman in Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo on January 10, 2016.
Passing sentence at Dublin Central Criminal Court today, Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy took into account the “very serious” effects of the offence on the victim and commended her strength of character.
He noted that the accused man, an African national, had very difficult circumstances as a child and had not been in trouble in Ireland before. He noted that the man's application for asylum had been rejected and was currently under appeal.
Mr Justice McCarthy said he took into consideration the man's plea of guilty and the fact that he would serve his sentence as a foreign national in an Irish prison. He imposed five years imprisonment.
The court heard that on the night of the attack, the man was out with a number of others, including the woman with whom he was in a casual relationship.
The group had gone to a nightclub before going back to a house. The woman became upset about a family issue and the man told her to come for a chat.
He brought her into a bathroom and locked the door behind him. He told her he was horny and wanted sex and the complainant said no to him.
He tried to kiss her but she again told him no. He then undressed and put her on the floor and raped her, using force to hold her down.
The woman told gardaí later that she had tried to yell out but couldn't.
After his arrest, the man told gardaí he had a lot of alcohol on the night and had difficulty remembering what happened. He admitted that sex could have taken place but said he wouldn't have used force.
The man arrived here in 2012 as a student and later applied for asylum in 2015. He was living in direct provision at the time of the attack and continues to do so.
Michael Bowman SC, defending, said his client had tried to apologise the next day and the complainant told him sorry didn't mean anything to her.
In a victim impact statement, the complainant said: “I can't forgive him for what he's done or what he put me through.”
She said that she had had suicidal thoughts since the attack and had been prescribed anti-depressants and sleeping tablets.
Counsel said his client had abused a position of trust and friendship in “an egregious manner” and had acknowledged his wrong-doing.
He would serve his sentence in significant, if not complete isolation, Mr Bowman said. He said his client's offer of an apology to the victim was genuine.