A Longford teenager who beat a then 13-year-old girl "to pulp" and viciously raped her after she blacked out from his attempts to strangle her has been given nine years detention.
Michael McDonagh (aged 16), of St Mel’s Road, Longford told his victim it was "the best Valentine’s night" he ever had. He had absconded earlier from two St Michael’s House care workers.
He pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to two charges of rape and oral rape of the victim at Red Island, Skerries on Feburary 14, 2004.
The victim was found by her concerned friends after her horrendous ordeal from McDonagh without her trousers or underwear and wearing one sock, bloodied with facial and lip bruises.
Her mother told Mr Justice Paul Carney that her daughter was "putting a good face on it" but the family had suffered "a torment that will not go away" that was "pulling our marriage apart."
She said she blamed herself for bringing her daughter into Skerries that night because she would not be allowed walk to or from her home to the town. She arranged to meet her at 11.30pm but became concerned when she couldn’t contact here on her mobile phone approaching that time.
"The picture of how she appeared when I next saw her is in my mind everyday of my life since," she told Mr Justice Carney and added: "All our peace is gone."
Mr Justice Carney certified him as a sex offender and placed him under five years post-release supervision after noting that his own expert believed he was still a danger to the community.
Detective Sergeant Patrick Marry told Mr Michael O’Higgins SC (with Mr Vincent Heneghan BL), prosecuting, that McDonagh told the victim his name was "James" and he was from Longford. He had told her friends before meeting her that he had absconded form St Michael’s House but they considered him "all right".
Shortly after moving off with the victim he put his arm around her and told her he was going to kill her but she took it as a joke. He began kissing her and though she tried to push him away she wasn’t over concerned as he was not being rough with her at this time.
Det Sgt Marry said that when they got to a particular place she agreed with him that nobody could see them and he then pushed her to the ground where he kicked her in the head seven times. He then put his hands around her throat and put such pressure on her that she blacked out.
She eventually came to and found him on top of her. He pulled off her upper clothes and committed various sexual acts on her including vaginal and oral rape after which he ejaculated on her face. .
It was her first time to experience sexual intercourse and was very painful. He also forced her to do a sexual act on his testicles.
Det Sgt Marry said that McDonagh later told gardaí he had absconded and wanted a lift back to St Michael’s House. He denied having attacked the victim but later intimated through St Michael’s House that he wanted to make a statement.
McDonagh made a statement in the presence of his father admitting the crimes on the victim. Mr O’Higgins told Mr Justice Carney that if the case had gone to trial there could have been issues about identity but the court had been told early that he was going to plead.
Dr Nicholas Bankes told Mr Eanna Mulloy SC, defending, that McDonagh needed at least 100 more hours of therapeutic sessions to make sure he was not a danger to society but was only about a quarter of the way through the necessary treatment.
Dr Bankes said McDonagh was likely "to snap" when made to feel belittled or put down. He was clear that something in him "snapped" that night and while they had identified "several triggers" that might have caused this they could not identify what happened that night.
Dr Bankes said the fact that McDonagh had written a letter of apology for his vicious attack on the girl demonstrated a change in his attitude towards women and that he accepted they were equal to men and not there to be used and abused.
Mr Justice Carney said he got the impression from the reports before him that because McDonagh had engaged in treatment and apologised he was expected to accept that everything was all right.
"I don’t see it that way. This was a very a very adult crime carried out with adult viciousness," he said. McDonagh had shown "cunning and deviousness" when he absconded and then joined a group of young people to become involved with the victim.
"He had his way with her by beating her to a pulp and then strangled her to the point where she became unconscious and so reduced her to the situation where her mother hardly recognised her."
Mr Justice Carney said McDonagh then in an act of "total brazenness" telephoned the gardaí to say he was an escapee and looked for a lift home.
He said the only factor he could find in his favour was his guilty plea . He suspended the final year of the sentence because the guilty plea left a slot free for the trial of another violent person.