Woman praised for fighting off sex attacker

A young woman has been praised by a judge for her bravery in fighting off a sex attacker who had dragged her to the ground on the green of a south Dublin housing estate.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring said if it had not been for the woman’s “fortitude” and “bravery in fighting off” Mark Curneen, aged 24, he would be in a different court facing different charges.

Judge Ring sentenced Curneen, of Marfield Gardens, Johnstown Rd, Cabinteely, to three-and-a-half years in prison. She suspended the last two years of the sentence on strict conditions, including that he seek treatment which the judge said would benefit both him and the community.

She said she was particularly worried about the fact that Curneen had sexually misbehaved in a minor way the year after the attack, which she called “the nightmare scenario”.

Curneen had pleaded guilty on the morning of his trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sex assault in Marfield Gardens on Aug 14, 2010. He was a registered a sex offender and the court heard he has two previous district court conviction for indecency in June and Aug 2011.

The court heard during the initial sentence hearing last January that the now 22-year-old victim, who was not a local girl, struggled with Curneen the minute he dragged her to the ground. She had tried unsuccessfully to get away from him before he sexually assaulted her.

She then managed to kick out at him but he dragged her back towards him by her ankle. She freed her ankle and ran off to a friend’s house nearby where the gardaí were alerted. She was left with lumps on her head and clumps of her hair had been pulled out. She had body bruises and her ankles were swollen and bruised.

Curneen’s mother, Caroline, told Judge Ring her son has both learning and speech difficulties and has since been diagnosed as having a genetic disorder, Joubert syndrome. She told Justin McQuade BL, defending, the syndrome meant her son had a brain malfunction which affected his muscle development.

Ms Curneen outlined how she and her husband, solicitor Michael Curneen, had tried to get assistance for their son over the years.


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