Former Cork mayor sexually assaulted teen girl

 Former Cork lord mayor John Murray is led out of the courthouse in handcuffs last night, having been found guilty by a unanimous verdict of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in 1996. Picture: Provision

Former lord mayor of Cork John Murray is in prison after a jury found him guilty by a unanimous verdict of sexually assaulting a teenager in 1996. The 83-year-old was taken to prison last night, where he will remain until Dec 2 for sentencing.

The first verdict on one of the six charges came just before lunch yesterday. Later, by majority verdicts, the jury found him guilty on four more sex assault charges against the same teenager and not guilty on one count.

The jury of seven men and five women had been deliberating all morning, following more than two hours of deliberations the previous day, when the forewoman said they had reached a unanimous verdict on count two of the six-count indictment. There were emotional scenes in the packed courtroom as the complainant, now aged around 30, hugged her mother and father on either side of her in the public gallery.

Murray showed no visible reaction to the verdict. After consulting briefly with his lawyers, Murray was escorted by a prison officer down the courtroom’s spiral stairwell into the custody cell.

The count on which he was first convicted related to a sexual assault in a car in Cork City. The complainant said she was given a lift by Murray in order to meet her mother. However, she said Murray pulled in on the side of the street more than 100m away from their destination. She said he leaned over, rubbed her vagina outside her clothes while moaning, and rubbed his penis.

After lunch, the jury deliberated further. By 5pm, there was a knock on the jury room door, indicating they were ready to deliver the remaining five verdicts.

On the first count, of kissing her lips and neck and groping her breasts while telling her she was beautiful, Murray was found guilty by an 11-1 majority.

On the third count, where the complainant said he whispered into her ear “I would love to fuck you” as he fondled her, he was found guilty by a 10-2 majority.

A similar majority found him guilty where he pulled down her underwear when she was wearing a summer dress and put his fingers into her and, with his other hand took out his penis, and pulled at it.

The same majority found Murray guilty of rubbing her breasts after approaching her as she left the toilet in a pub in Cork.

He was found not guilty of sexually assaulting her in a hotel car park.

In respect of not guilty majority verdicts, the breakdown of the 12 jurors is not given.

The judge remanded Murray in custody for the next 10 days.


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