A Czech national living in Killarney, Co Kerry, who wore a green hoodie on the night of the 2014 All-Ireland football final, was identified by gardaí as the chief suspect in an enquiry in which a 26-year-old woman claimed she was violently raped and gave a detailed description of her “foreign, tanned-skinned” attacker who spoke English with a foreign accent.
Jacinta O’Connor, aged 26, went to Killarney Garda Station at 4am on September 22 after a night out and said she was grabbed and pulled to the ground and violently raped behind the town’s courthouse. She claimed she was then followed by the “Pakastani”-looking man who wore a green hoodie.
The next day, she made a lengthy formal statement. However, mid-way through viewing CCTV images on October 10, Ms O’Connor withdrew her statement after she was shown leaving the Grand Hotel nightclub shortly after 2am with an Irishman with whom she had had a sexual relationship. She told gardaí she was sorry. She had had consensual sex and had not been raped by a man in the green hoodie.
Ms O’Connor, of Steelroe, Killorglin, is charged with knowingly making a false report and wasting garda time. She denies the charge.
The third day of the trial in Tralee was told yesterday that gardaí in Killarney had obtained CCTV from around 30 locations. On September 25, they obtained a search warrant, went to the home of a Czech man, and confiscated clothing, including the man’s green hoodie.
He was very “amicable” and agreed to hand over clothing and DNA samples; he was interviewed under caution, and he denied having any kind of sexual relationship with her, Detective Sgt John Kelly said.
No results of the samples were obtained after the woman withdrew her complaint, the detective told Elizabeth Murphy under cross-examination.
Ms Murphy pressed the garda as to why alcohol tests on the woman showing how much she had to drink on the night were not available.
“She was sober on the 23rd when she made the statement,” Det Sgt Kelly replied.
In March 2015, under arrest, Ms O’Connor told gardaí she knew she had sex with someone, and thought it was the man with the green hood because she believed he had touched her up on the street. She remembered having sex “but not who with” and it was only when she saw the stills that she remembered it was “Mike Ahern from Cromane”, she told gardaí, in a memo read by Tom Rice, prosecuting.
On day two of the trial, Michael Ahern, aged 29, of Lake Road, Cromane, said consensual sex did take place, in Scott’s underground carpark, and it was ordinary sex, “a bit kinky”, and no way violent and certainly did not cause Ms O’Connor injury and he had worn a condom.
She also said the people in the sexual assault unit in Cork where she was examined “said I had been raped as there was blood and traces inside in me”.
“You basically identified a person for raping you which was false and, as a result, his home was searched,” it was put to her.
“I now know it was stupid,” she said. “I feel bad. I shouldn’t have put anyone through it. I have never done anything like this before. I’m sorry for all the time I have wasted and to the other guy.”
Ms O’Connor said she was “drunk” and confused and was separated from her friends and had no way home.
Closing speeches have been heard and Judge Thomas E O’Donnell will charge the jury of nine women and three men today.
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