Ten years for business man in rape case

A north Dublin businessman who raped a foreign tourist in a Killarney hotel has been jailed for 10 years by Mr Justice Paul Carney at the Central Criminal Court.

Philip McGrane (aged 39), of Moonlone Lane, Hynestown, The Naul was convicted by a jury on day-11 of his trial earlier this year of oral and anal rape, rape, and sexual assault of the victim on June 6, 2005.

Mr Justice Carney said the range of sentence available to the court went from suspended sentence to life imprisonment and he had been upheld in both these terms by the Court of Criminal Appeal.

He told McGrane that having regard to the violence he used in his savage attack on the victim, his deliberate humiliation of her and his raping of her "in every way possible" he merited a 15 year sentence in the range available to the court but taking into consideration that he had no previous convictions and the character evidence on his behalf, he set the rape sentences at 10 years with four years concurrent for the sexual assault.

Mr Justice Carney directed that McGrane undergo five years post-release supervision and noted that in his decision he had "the benefit" of a detailed review and analysis of rape case sentences recently pronounced in a judgement by Mr Justice Peter Charleton. "But for that, the sentence in this case would be higher," he said.

McGrane denied the charges at this trial and said in evidence that the woman came up to him outside the hotel while he was walking, pushed a pair of knickers into his pocket and gave him her room number after asking him if he fancied "a good time".

He said that the sexual activity between them was consensual but her mood changed when he slapped her hard on the bottom and she told him to leave.

Det. Gda Patrick Sears told Mr Paul Burns SC (with Mr Tom Rice BL), prosecuting that the victim reported her life had changed completely as a result of the rape.

Her long-term relationship with her partner came to an abrupt end six weeks later, she had lost weight, had lost her confidence and at first was too ashamed to tell anyone about it but two close friends.

She reported that she took on extra work to keep her mind off it and colleagues noted she was working more and told her she had lost her sense of humour. She had also received medication and counselling for depression and said he still felt isolated as no one could properly understand the trauma she had been through.

Det. Gda Sears said she also expressed the hope that things would be better after sentencing.

Det Gda Sears said McGrane's computer business brought him to Killarney due to a major contract he had. He had no previous convictions and had never come to garda attention before this.

Mr Justice Carney said that in sentencing he wasn't taking into consideration what he had earlier described as "the most caddish evidence" given on McGrane's behalf at his trial by his wife of their purported sexual activity.

He had refused to give bail to McGrane following his conviction after referring to the intimate evidence given by his wife on his saying: "A person who calls his wife to give such evidence on behalf of him is, to my mind, capable of anything and I'm not going to give bail under any circumstances."

Mr Justice Carney said he followed the practice mandated in the "M" case by which he was required to identify the range of penalty available, then to put the particular case into its proper place in that range; and, thereafter, to discount such factors as were available to the defendant in his favour.

He noted that McGrane had no previous convictions, was married with a young family, had lost his business as a result of this conviction and had been "spoken up for" by his employees and character witnesses.

Mr Justice Carney said he also took into consideration the effect the rape had on the victim.

Detective Garda Sears said the now 58-year-old woman and her then partner had been on holiday in Killarney and after having a meal and a walk they had a minor disagreement about going to a music session.

The woman's partner left their room and she was concerned about after some time. She went looking for him before returning to her room and shortly after that a knock came to the door. She thought it was her partner but found a man she didn't know who excused himself and said he had come to the wrong room.

Det Gda Sears said another knock came to the door some minutes later and she thought that this time it was her partner but she told how it was the same man, McGrane ,who hit on the right side of her face, knocked her back into the room and ordered her to get undressed.

He got completely undressed and began a series of sexual activity during which he hit her across her bottom a few times and put his penis into her mouth. This made her feel ill and her stomach began to heave.

Det Gda Sears said she described how he hit her again a few times across her bottom, and tied his shoelaces with his feet on her back, saying: "Have I humiliated you enough yet?".

He then asked her where her underpants were and she take a pair of her knickers which she had taken off earlier from her case and saw him sniffing them. He told her not to look at him before he left but she did.

Det. Gda Sears said he spoke to McGrane the next morning at his hotel as he was about to check-out and asked him to come to the garda station because they were investigating the rape allegation.

Garda Michelle Roche told Mr Burns at the trial that McGrane became the chief suspect for the crime after gardai viewed CCTV security footage from the hotel following a call alleging that a rape had taken place.

Gda Roche said they patrolled Killarney until 4 a.m searching for him without success but just after 8 a.m she saw him sitting in the garda station and arrested him. A pair of knickers which belonged to the victim were found in his suitcase.

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