Cork lift attacker a genuine risk to public, says judge

A teenager was cold and calculating in following a French woman through the streets of Cork before forcing his way into the lift of her apartment building where he viciously assaulted her.

Yesterday he was jailed for four years.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said 17-year-old Kevin Buckley of 5C Shanakiel Place, Blarney Rd, Cork, can be identified in the public interest even though he is still a juvenile. The judge said that if the accused does not deal with his deep-rooted issues, “he will end up killing someone”.

The judge praised the intelligence and resourcefulness of the woman, who is in her 30s, in how she did everything she possibly could to defend herself: she tried to calm her attacker down by talking to him; and she defended herself physically by biting his hand so hard she broke a tooth.

The jury at Cork Circuit Criminal Court decided the teenager did not carry out a sex assault on the woman in the lift of her apartment on the morning after St Stephen’s Day 2015.

Buckley admitted falsely imprisoning the woman in the lift and assault causing harm to her.

The judge imposed a total sentence of seven years on him and suspended the last three years on condition that he comes under the supervision of the probation service for three years following his release from jail.

Judge Ó Donnabháin said: “There is a complete lack of empathy for the victim. I am not really sure what is going on in the accused’s head. I think there is genuine risk to the public.”

The judge was deeply concerned about the calculation used by the accused to carry out the vicious attack in the building — out of sight of the security camera outside the apartments. He said it was cold and calculated: “You terrified the life and soul out of her. This was not the behaviour of a wayward youth. There is something much more fundamentally disturbed in your behaviour.”

The accused was suspended from primary school in sixth class for his behaviour and within two days of going to secondary school his behaviour there saw him being suspended too.

The victim said the attack damaged her self-confidence and left her with mistrust and fear when she walked down the street in Cork.

The woman testified in the trial that she was staying in an apartment in Cork City on St Stephen’s Day and went out to meet some friends in a city centre pub and later went to a house party. On her way home she said a man asked her the time and later kept asking for a kiss. He followed her home and forced his way into the building despite her efforts to hold him back.

“He repeatedly tried to lift me up putting his hand under my bum. It was just, ‘Can I have a kiss?’ on constant. I tried to push him away at this stage. I was very afraid of the violence,” she told the court.

She said that one stage, as she tried to fend him off, she bit his hand and lost a bit of a tooth as a result: “I started screaming for help. He took my glasses and threw them on the ground. I sat down against the wall crying and was completely shaking.”

Eventually, she fled the building and got to the safety of a nearby hotel where the alarm was raised.


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