Convicted sex offender remanded in custody

A convicted sex offender who raped a woman in the ladies toilet of a Nenagh fast food restaurant two years ago has been remanded in custody for sentence by Mr Justice Paul Carney.

A convicted sex offender who raped a woman in the ladies toilet of a Nenagh fast food restaurant two years ago has been remanded in custody for sentence by Mr Justice Paul Carney.

David Power (aged 27) of Brittas, Thurles pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to raping the woman in Supermacs in Nenagh on January 28, 2007.

Power was previously jailed for terms of five years on October 5, 2001 and for three years on October 29, 2002 by Mr Justice Paul Carney for aggravated sexual assaults on women in Cork city in June and September 2000.

Power had been a private in the Irish Army, attached to Collins Barracks in Cork, at the time of his earlier crimes, but had left the defence forces when jailed.

The woman told Mr Justice Carney that the rape had effected her as "a woman, girlfriend, daughter, sister, friend, work colleague and human being." She said her family and community had rallied around to support her.

She said she had been a very social person in the past but found her "sense of safety in the world severely threatened and compromised" after the attack and she kept the garda number on speed dial while socialising.

She said she was now constantly aware of where toilets are and if there was loud music or security. She said she had commented in the past on women going to the toilet in groups but now believed it was good practice.

Power read from a letter he had prepared for the court and told the victim: "From the bottom of my heart I am so sorry for what I did to you." He told Mr Justice Carney that he had tried to get access to treatment in custody.

Power's mother told Mr Justice Carney that her son had been sexually abused as a child and as an adult and she was anxious that he receive therapy. "I am asking you as a mother to help my son. I am pleading with you."

Mr Justice Carney said in his view he had already tried to help her son twice in imposing sentences for his previous sexual offending which might now be considered moderate.

Garda Joan Larkin told Mr John Aylmer SC (with Mr Sean Guerin BL), prosecuting, that the victim was on her way home from a nightclub with her boyfriend when she needed to use a toilet. They stopped at Supermacs and she went upstairs to the ladies toilet while her boyfriend waited outside.

The woman said as she opened the door of a cubicle she was pushed inside by a man who grabbed her by the shoulders and turned her around. She said she struggled but could not get free and shouted to people coming in and out but could not be heard above the loud music in the toilets.

Power put his two hands around her neck and before he pulled down her clothes and raped her she managed to scrape his face. She said her head was down between the toilet and cubicle and she felt pain as he then put his penis in her anus.

The woman's boyfriend had become concerned at the length of time she was gone and had asked a girl to go into the toilets to call out her name. The woman shouted out "yes" when she heard her name and Power stopped and immediately left the toilets.

Gda Larkin said gardaí were contacted and the "extremely traumatised and distressed" woman was treated in hospital. She said the whites of the woman's eyes were red due to the pressure of Power's hands around her throat and she had bruising on her neck and body which developed over the next few days.

CCTV in the restaurant showed Power going in and out of the ladies toilets in the early hours of the morning.

Power initially denied remembering anything of the incident on his arrest but subsequently made admissions. He told gardaí he had gone into Supermacs with a friend after a night out and had gone into the ladies toilets. He said he went to the gents to get sick and then returned and encountered his victim.

Defence counsel, Ms Isobel Kennedy SC (with Mr Michael Bowman BL), that Power had received some counselling while in custody but submitted that he required more intensive supervision. She said he had some insight into his offending and was willing and motivated to deal with his problems.

Ms Kennedy said Power had been sexually abused as a child by his grandfather and more recently by an unknown person as an adult. She said he had a "high level of remorse" and had the benefit of a supportive family. She said he also accepted his offending was effected by the misuse of alcohol and other substances.

Mr Justice Carney jailed Power for five years on October 5, 2001 for an aggravated sexual assault on a woman as she walked home from work on Stable Lane, off Copley Street, Cork City on September 29, 2000.

He imposed a three years sentence on him on October 29, 2002 aggravated sexual assault of a 28-year-old prostitute in a car park near Fitton Rd in Cork around midnight on June 2, 2000

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