Man gets 21 years for part in gang rape

A Limerick man who participated in a savage gang-rape of a woman in a wood last year has been jailed for 21 years by Mr Justice Paul Carney at the Central Criminal Court.

A Limerick man who participated in a savage gang-rape of a woman in a wood last year has been jailed for 21 years by Mr Justice Paul Carney at the Central Criminal Court.

Stephen Barry (aged 25), of Roxboro Road, pleaded guilty to four charges arising from the crime at Brickhill East, Cratloe, Co Clare on January 23, 2004.

Barry admitted raping the victim, assaulting her causing harm, false imprisonment of her and of her male companion and the assault of him.

He also pleaded guilty to a fifth charge of stealing a bottle of Tequila on January 22, 2004 at Fine Wines, Thomond Gate, Limerick.

Mr Justice Paul Carney imposed 21 years for the count of rape, 21 years for false imprisonment, five years for each assault and 12 months for theft. All terms are to run concurrently and the final year will be suspended.

Mr Justice Carney gave the four other Limerick teenagers detention terms of up to 10 years on July 30 last year for their roles in the crime in which the gang took turns to rape a woman while her 36-year-old male companion was locked in the boot of a car.

Thomas O’Neill, Dean Barry and Darragh Ryan, all 16 at the time , and the then 14-year-old Jason Ring, along with Barry, launched the attack on the couple after they found them together in Cratloe Woods in the early hours of the morning.

Detective Sergeant Michael Houlihan said the couple arrived at the scene around 3am that morning. Twenty minutes later the teenagers and Barry arrived in a stolen car.

Armed with a golf club, a screw driver, a wheel brace and a shovel, the gang threatened the couple demanding their mobile phones and wallets. The man had trouble finding money to give to the gang upon which they shouted "do him, do him".

The woman was severely struck on the shoulder with a golf club after telling her attackers to fuck off when they tried to lift up her dress.

The man was in possession of an extendable baton and when the youths found it they assumed he was a garda and shouted "he's a cop do him".

They ordered the man into the boot of the car while Barry held a screwdriver to his side. Barry was identifiable from surgical stitches above his eye. From inside the boot he heard the gang shout "my turn next" and "we’re riding your bird" as the woman was repeatedly raped.

She was pushed onto the bonnet facing forward and an attempt to anally rape her was made. One of the gang sat in front of her, laughing in her face and asking her for a kiss.

She was dragged into the car and the gang took turns raping her while they threatened to burn the car with her boyfriend in the boot if she resisted. She was able to identify the accused man as the third to have raped her. She was also forced to perform oral sex on her attackers.

Det Sgt said the ordeal lasted for around 45 minutes. It ended when the man managed to escape from the boot and summon help from a passing motorist.

During his escape he was viciously beaten by the men but he managed to get hold of two golf clubs to defend himself with.

Mr Justice Carney heard that the accused, who has 36 previous convictions, was not the leader of the gang and told gardaí that he had been present at the incident but made no substantial admissions concerning the more serious charges.

O’Neill and Ryan, both from Lenihan Avenue, Barry, from Garryglass Avenue, Ballinacurra, and Ring, from Crecora Avenue, Ballinacurra, all Limerick City, pleaded guilty to raping the 35-year-old woman. They also pleaded guilty to falsely imprisoning the man and assault causing harm on both victims on the same date.

Mr Justice Carney jailed O’Neill for 10 years because he was described in court as the "ringleader" and "director of operations" and jailed Dean Barry for nine years because the probation report said he represented a continuing danger to others.

He sentenced Ryan to eight years and jailed Ring for the maximum four years for a person under the age of 16.

Mr Justice Carney suspended the final year of O’Neill, Ryan and Dean Barry’s sentence because of their age and guilty pleas but said he had no jurisdiction to suspend a portion of Ring’s sentence because it was to be served at Trinity House. The other three were to go to St Patrick’s Institution.

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