A MAN convicted of sexual assault told gardaí that his victim had knelt before him in a carpark and asked him to ‘f**k’ her.
However Danny Foley, jailed last week for five years for the sexual assault of a 24-year-old woman, was forced to change his evidence in court when confronted with CCTV footage that showed him carrying his victim to the scene of the crime.
Yesterday the woman said Foley had claimed she had ‘walked over there perfectly’ but that it was clear to all in court that this was not the case. Gardaí on routine patrol found Foley crouched over his semi-naked, semi-conscious victim at the side of a skip in a car park in Listowel, Co Kerry.
Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Marian Finucane show under the pseudonym Roisín, the woman said she was ‘scared and frightened’ to take the case against Foley, but was determined to go ahead.
“At the end of the day, I did say no that night and he took advantage of me,” she said.
In an emotional interview, and breaking down occasionally, the mother of a young son, from Listowel, Co Kerry, said 35-year-old Foley changed his evidence when he saw the footage – saying he was frightened and panicked. Roisín said regardless of his state of mind, he should have called an ambulance. Instead gardaí called the ambulance when they arrived.
The following morning she travelled to the sexual assault unit in Cork ‘to find out exactly how far he [Foley] went’.
“When I was going up there I was so exhausted and so sore that I kept falling asleep in the back of the garda car,” she said.
She described the experience as ‘humiliating and embarrassing’ because of the process she had to go through, ‘everything was stripped from me, my dignity, my respect’ but that she knew it was ‘the best thing’ to do and that staff were very kind, including a nurse who held her hand throughout.
She cried the whole way through the examination. “All I wanted to do is just get home and just crawl into a corner and just literally die,” she said.
After the examination, she had to go to her local garda station where photographs were taken of the bruising and marks on her body and a couple of days later, when she felt emotionally able to do so, she made a statement to gardaí.
Her file was sent to the DPP and she was warned there may not be enough evidence to prosecute Foley.
“I’m delighted there was because otherwise it wouldn’t have gone to trial and he would still have been out walking the streets,” she said.
She described the trial as ‘terrifying’ particularly the day she was due to read her Victim Impact Statement, when Foley’s family and friends queued up in court, like sympathisers at a funeral, to shake his hand and show support.
“As I walked into court we saw a number of people out in the hall and to tell you the truth, I didn’t know at that time that they were actually going to come into the court and go over and shake his hand.”
No-one sympathised with her. “Not one person looked at me. I felt a vibe in there and that vibe was not good towards me. I felt that I couldn’t go through with the Victim Impact Statement, but I did because I wanted to, I needed to for myself.”
Roisín said she found it particularly hurtful when Foley referred to her as ‘yer wan’ in conversation with the gardaí.
“I know Danny Foley for nine years, he was a friend of mine and he called me ‘yer wan’. He knows my name. He knows me very well, that’s what hurt me, and to... say that I knelt down in the car park, I don’t think anyone would do it,” she said.
She said she now finds it difficult to leave the sanctity of her home because of ‘looks’ and comments from people, but that she has also been overwhelmed with the level of support. She received two bunches of flowers from well wishers and ‘literally just fell down with the flowers in my hand, I literally didn’t know there was that much support out there for me”.
Roisín urged other victims of sexual assault not to be intimidated and to know that ‘if you say no, just hold your head up high, you’ve nothing to be ashamed about’.
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