Rapist back in jail after failing to quit alcohol

A convicted rapist who is at high risk of re-offending has been sent back to jail for five years for not complying with the conditions of his release.

John English, aged 35, from Streamhill in Dillons Cross, Cork, has previous convictions for rape, false imprisonment and sexual assault dating back to 1993, when he was in his mid- teens.

In 2004 he was jailed for 13 years for raping an Australian tourist after meeting her in a bar in Cork. The Court of Criminal Appeal later backdated the sentence to 2002, effectively reducing it by two years.

He was described by Mr Justice Barry White at the time as “a danger and a menace to society” and “a serious threat to the women of Cork”.

The judge said the case possibly deserved a life sentence but agreed to give English a chance to reform.

A five-year suspended sentence was also imposed, which required that English comply with all directions from the Probation Service, including that he stay off alcohol, which was judged to be the main trigger for his sexual offending.

Shortly after his release in September last year he was spotted drinking and the case was re-entered in the Central Criminal Court to have the five-year term activated.

He appeared in court on Nov 19 and promised to stay off alcohol if the case was adjourned to give him another chance. That evening he was seen by gardaí openly drinking with his father in a Cork pub.

He was ordered to appear again in court but failed to turn up. He was arrested two weeks later in Dublin when gardaí found him in a drunken state, talking to women on the street.

Prosecuting counsel Anne Rowland BL told the court that an assessment of English was carried out before he left prison, which found him at high risk of re-offending, particularly if he drank. The court heard that the Probation Service still holds this view.

English had been drinking heavily in the days prior to the rape and alcohol has been a factor in all his offending. He was kicked off a treatment course in prison for drinking hand sanitiser.

Defence counsel Ronan Munroe BL said English was acting out of “pure compulsion” and his alcohol problem is “as intense as it gets”. He asked Mr Justice White not to activate the full five- year term and give English a chance to rehabilitate. He said his client promised to undergo a residential alcohol treatment course.

Mr Justice White said he had no option but to jail English for the full five years and that any undertaking given by English to court is “of little, if any value”.

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