'We don't want him': Former Lord Mayor calls on triple rapist not to return to Cork

'We don't want him': Former Lord Mayor calls on triple rapist not to return to Cork
David Hegarty

By Olivia Kelleher

A former Lord Mayor of Cork has called on a triple rapist not to return to his native city following his release from prison on the grounds that women in the area have expressed fear about his presence in the local community.

In 2009 David Hegarty, then 32, from Mahon in Cork was jailed for 13 years for raping a young nurse in the early hours of May 22, 2008 close to a bus station in the city.

Mr Hegarty raped the woman just two years following his release from a 10-year sentence imposed in 2000 for raping two female students in Cork city centre in October 1998.

Mr Hegarty was released from Arbour Hill prison in February and is understood to be living on the streets in Dublin.

Sinn Fein councillor Chris O'Leary told the Opinion Line, on Cork's 96FM, that residents in Mahon are very concerned that he will return back to Leeside.

Former Lord Mayor of Cork Chris O'Leary
Former Lord Mayor of Cork Chris O'Leary

"We don't want him. I don't think any place will want him. An individual like this needs to be tagged on release from prison. People have contacted me. They are concerned that he would wish to return to the area. The big message I am getting is that people fear this individual returning to a community where he is not wanted.

We have heard the Government talk about tagging but they have failed to bring it in. People have the right to know that there is a dangerous individual and they should be alert to their activities.

Cllr O'Leary says that the presence of Hegarty in the community would effectively impose a self-enforced curfew on women and young girls arising out of fears for their safety.

Meanwhile, at the sentencing hearing in 2009 Mr Justice Carney said the attack on the nurse the previous year was “particularly predatory and opportunistic."

He said that he considered life imprisonment in the case because "the women of Ireland have a constitutional right not to be raped."

Detective Garda John McDonagh said Hegarty’s victim was waiting outside the bus station in Cork at 5.30am on May 22, 2008 when he grabbed her around the neck from behind and dragged her a short distance away before raping her.

He was caught near the scene by Garda Aidan O’Mahony after a member of the public telephoned the gardai.

The victim told Mr Justice Carney: “I will never forgive him for what he did and I will never forget it.”

She said that Hegarty’s attack on her had “totally changed my lifestyle” and left her afraid to walk anywhere on her own. She had become suspicious of men and didn’t feel safe on her own anymore.

The woman said she also suffered sleepless nights, needing indication to help her sleep at all and she was still having regular counselling.

“Counselling is the only place where I can talk openly about what happened.”

Hegarty said in evidence that he wished to apologise to her and say he was sorry. He added that he would “wholeheartedly co-operate” with any treatment he might be offered in prison.


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