Son of Galway mayor to be sentenced for sexual assault

A son of the mayor of Galway who violently sexually assaulted a nurse in a laneway causing her severe head injuries will face sentencing in June.

Brian Maher (aged 24) of Clostoken, Loughrea, Co Galway pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault and assault causing harm on October 16, 2010.

Maher is the son of current Galway mayor, Fine Gael's Michael Maher.

The Central Criminal Court heard that the 38-year-old victim was making her way home from a night out with friends in Galway city when Maher grabbed her by the neck, pulled her into an alleyway and hit her head off a wall and off the ground.

Eyewitnesses living near the scene described seeing a woman lying on the ground struggling and screaming with a man crouched above her punching her repeatedly in the face and head.

The victim suffered a broken nose, a fractured cheekbone, vaginal bruising, multiple abrasions and lacerations during the attack. Her tooth was knocked out and she briefly lost consciousness.

Garda David Clarke, who arrived at the scene, described seeing a woman bleeding heavily from the head in a very distressed state, with her jeans and underwear torn and pulled down her legs.

Maher was chased by Gda Gerard Morrissey who said he was "extremely aggressive and pumped with adrenalin". The garda eventually pepper-sprayed him.

Maher, who had consumed alcohol and cocaine on the night, said the combination of drink and drugs made him "crazy" and that there was "something wrong with him".

He said he had tried to overdose twice in the year preceding the attack and that psychiatric difficulties had "a lot to do with the attack".

Maher changed his story several times during interview with gardaí, initially denying any involvement and later claiming he had a consensual sexual encounter and that the woman was "all over him".

Maher has been registered as a sex offender and remanded in custody until his sentencing on June 18.

Prosecuting counsel Gerald Clarke SC asked that a victim impact statement be read out on that date.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy thanked the jury of eight men and four women and exempted them from further jury duty for at least 10 years.

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