Rapist threatened to throw victim, 16, into river

A man who raped a 16-year-old girl and threatened to throw her in a river shortly after leaving his girlfriend’s house has been jailed for six years.

Peter Halligan, aged 23, covered his face and grabbed the girl from behind as she was making her way home from her friend’s house just before midnight. 

He was later arrested after a school friend saw him in the area. DNA found on the victim also matched Halligan.

During the attack, the girl tried to get him to stop by claiming she was just 14 years old. 

She also suggested to him that because he was under 21 he would not go to prison if he stopped now. Halligan responded that he was over 21 and continued the attack.

At first, the accused denied attacking the girl and suggested it could have been another man he saw in the area who he claimed was armed with a knife. 

He then claimed the girl had approached him on the street and asked for sex.

He said he initially lied to gardaí because he did not want his girlfriend to find out.

Mr Justice Paul Butler noted that Halligan has no previous convictions and has a 6-year-old son. 

He described him as “a good dad”, and as a man who paid his monthly maintenance, had a positive attitude, and had completed several courses in prison.

The judge said Halligan was thought unlikely to re-offend and suspended two years of an eight-year sentence, which he described as being ‘in the middle of the sentence scale’.

Halligan, of Kilcohan Park, Waterford, pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape and oral rape at a riverbank in Waterford City on July 24, 2014. He was convicted by a jury on both counts after four hours deliberations.

The victim was not in court for the sentence hearing. Detective Garda Tom Manton said she was traumatised by the events and was still very upset.

A victim impact report she submitted to court stated the attack had impacted many aspects of her life including her relationships with family and friends.

She said she gets flashbacks and still feels she can not speak to her mother about the event for fear of upsetting her. 

She said she feels very vulnerable and intimidated when she is around men.

“I’m getting slowly better,” she added. 

“I hope to some day to become the person I once was.”

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