Grandmother’s rapist ‘must be removed from society’

Richard O'Brien: Vicious rape and assault of grandmother.

A judge has jailed a rapist for 15 years after saying he needs to be removed from society until it is safe for him to return.

Richard O’Brien, 57, lured a grandmother to a caravan in Dublin before raping her, assaulting her and biting her during a sustained and vicious attack on March 19, 2011.

He then fled to the UK before being extradited in 2013.In July, he was found guilty by a jury of rape, attempted rape, false imprisonment, and assault causing harm.

O’Brien, with a former address in Arlington Lodge, Church St, Tralee, Co Kerry, was sentenced in early 2015 after being convicted of separate offences of rape and false imprisonment carried out two months earlier. He received a six-year sentence for that, backdated to the date of his extradition from the UK.

At his sentencing hearing last month, Mr Justice Tony Hunt had O’Brien removed from court after he repeatedly interrupted proceedings, calling his victim a “filthy prostitute”.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Hunt said the harm done by O’Brien to the victim was “very, very great indeed” with “long-term if not permanent damage”.

He said that O’Brien had identified her on the night as a vulnerable person. He had used deception by telling her there was a party while in reality he was bringing her to an isolated caravan.

He said he was tempted to impose a life sentence so that O’Brien would be kept away from the public until the executive determines it would be safe for him to be released.

He said O’Brien was “a very serious threat indeed”, but said his case fell just short of one which would merit a life sentence.

Imposing a 15-year prison term, Mr Justice Hunt said O’Brien will be in jail for a large part of his remaining lifespan.

“That’s his fault. He needs to be removed from society until it’s safe for him to return,” he said.

The judge said he was giving some allowance in his sentencing to O’Brien’s age and his medical issues.

He backdated the sentence to last August, when his previous sentence expired. He ordered that O’Brien be subject to post-release supervision for three years and that he must notify authorities of his address, as per the Sex Offenders Act 2001.

In a victim impact statement read out in court, the woman said she has had nightmares every night for the last five years. She said the attack led to the breakdown of her 23-year relationship and she had suicidal thoughts. She said her relationship with her children and grandchildren has suffered as a result.

“For the last five years of my life I have been existing, not living,” she said.

During the case, Garda Ruth Brett said the victim was having birthday drinks with friends in a Dublin pub when O’Brien offered to buy her a drink. He then invited her back to a house party, telling her it was his sister’s birthday.

However, when the woman arrived at the house, she became uneasy and asked to get a taxi home. O’Brien invited her into a caravan at the back of the property on the pretext of ordering her a cab, but once inside he told her: “There’s no effing sister and there’s no effing taxi either.”

He then pushed her on to the bed, punched her repeatedly, bit her on the chest and neck, and raped her. The woman fainted at one point during the attack, which went on for some time, the court heard.


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