Waterford man jailed for five years for raping prostitute

A Waterford businessman who raped a Croatian prostitute in a local upmarket hotel after hiring her by phone through a Cork-based escorts agency has been given a five years sentence by Mr Justice Barry White.

A Waterford businessman who raped a Croatian prostitute in a local upmarket hotel after hiring her by phone through a Cork-based escorts agency has been given a five years sentence by Mr Justice Barry White.

Billy Keogh (aged 46), a married man and father of six, of Wilder, Kilmeaden was found guilty by a jury in February at the Central Criminal Court of raping the 26-year-old woman who claimed he told her he was a garda and also threatened to throw her out of the hotel window.

The jury returned its 10-2 majority guilty verdict that he raped the woman on May 21, 2006 following about six hours deliberation and after one night in a hotel.

The jury of six men and six women had earlier found him not guilty of stealing €1,200 cash from the woman who was working for the Red Velvets Escorts Agency based in Cork.

Keogh denied both charges during his six-day trial. He told gardaí he was a respectable businessman running a Waterford refuse company and had been using the Red Velvets agency for two years to have paid sex with prostitutes assigned by it.

The victim told prosecuting counsel, Mr Gerard Clarke SC (with Mr Michael Delaney BL), she had been prescribed three different medications to combat anxiety in the months following the rape.

She said she suffered disturbed sleep, heart palpitations and sweating. She was now on two medications and receives counselling in Croatia where she was now also employed in a good job.

When asked by counsel if she wished to say anything to Mr Justice White, she said: "It’s not nice to (rape) anyone. No matter who I was or what I was doing, it’s not nice."

Defence counsel, Mr Hugh Hartnett SC (with Mr Philipp Rhan BL), described the "crippling" effect the case had on Keogh and his family. He outlined that there were different scales of rape and that this case didn’t involve the "forcible removal of clothing from a stranger".

Mr Hartnett added that the victim might find some comfort to know that Keogh’s recent medical tests came back negative for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

Mr Justice White directed that Keogh’s name be placed on the register of sex offenders and suspended the final three years of the sentence.

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