Teenager claims 51-year-old sexually assaulted her during bus trip

A TEENAGE girl broke down in tears in court yesterday as she claimed a Skibbereen man older than her father sexually assaulted her on a bus as she was travelling home from a friend’s party.

The girl, who was 15 years old at the time, told Cork Circuit Court that James “Mock” O’Driscoll, aged 51, of Marsh Road, Skibbereen, felt the inside of her inner thigh and asked her to kiss him as they travelled from Skibbereen to Cork on November 11, 2006.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was returning to Cork from her friend’s birthday party in Bandon.

She told the court that as the bus went round a corner in Innishannon, the defendant fell towards her. She moved her feet so he could sit down and he began talking to her.

The girl told him her hands were cold having waited 10 minutes for the bus.

“He rubbed my left hand and then he put it inside his jacket. Then he rubbed my other hand and put it in my pocket,” she said. He then touched her face and pushed back her fringe and touched her inner thigh, the girl said. “When he was doing that I was looking out the window because I was afraid.”

The girl said a man sitting to her right and behind her, identified as John Sheehy, then spoke to her. She said he started talking to Mr O’Driscoll after the accused asked her more than once for a kiss. “I just kept saying ‘no’,” she said.

The girl said the accused became irritated when Mr Sheehy kept talking to him. As they approached Cork University Hospital, she moved towards the front of the bus. She said Mr O’Driscoll was behind her but the bus driver put him off the bus at the hospital. When the bus got to the Cork city centre bus terminal, the girl said she was brought to the inspector’s office and the gardaí were called.

John Sheehy told the court he saw Mr O’Driscoll leaning in towards her and he said “something like he wanted a kiss”.

“I tried to ask him questions to get information from him for the gardaí, trying to distract him from her,” he said.

He said he told another passenger what was happening and that person spoke to the driver, Kieran Teague.

The driver gave evidence that he knew the defendant. He confirmed he put Mr O’Driscoll off the bus on that night for harassing passengers and smoking. When he got to Cork he asked the girl if she was okay and she burst into tears.

The court was told the driver picked Mr O’Driscoll out of a Garda identity parade later. The girl did not identify him in a line-up. Mr O’Driscoll has denied ever meeting the girl.

The case continues before Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin and a jury today.

More in this section