A Limerick taxi driver who raped and sexually assaulted a female passenger two years ago after driving her to an isolated area has been jailed for seven years.
John Ryan (aged 43) of Clonard, Westbury was found guilty by a jury at the Central Criminal Court last November.
He had pleaded not guilty to rape and sexual assault of the 21-year-old woman on October 17, 2007 after picking her up in his cab a short distance from a Limerick nightclub.
Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy, registered Ryan as a sex offender. He had adjourned sentencing last week after Ryan raised issues about the medical care of his amputated leg while he has been on remand in custody.
Mr Justice McCarthy said that Ryan had been in a position of trust and that “persons who hold public service vehicle licenses are called upon to be persons of good character”, as people, particularly young girls are reliant on them to bring them home safely late at night.
“It is fundamental that they be completely trustworthy in every respect,” Mr Justice McCarthy said before he added that the fact Ryan had taken advantage of his position with a vulnerable young woman was an aggravating factor in the case.
He took into account that Ryan had initially lied and claimed that there had been no sexual contact at all between him and the victim but later “changed his story” and told gardaí that they had consensual intercourse and he had given her oral sex.
Mr Justice McCarthy said the victim had been of an age where she was entitled to enjoy her life and a night out.
Garda Maria Kiely told Mr John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, that the woman said in a victim impact statement that she feels the crimes had hurt her family as much as her but she has since started attending counselling.
“I lie awake at night thinking when will this ever end. Even with this man behind bars it will never be over and it will haunt me for the rest of my life,” the woman said.
Gda Kiely said the woman said she had found the past two years very traumatic and not a day had gone by without the incident being on her mind.
She stated that she suffered from anxiety and paranoia, had lost a lot of confidence and found it difficult to trust people. She found it difficult to believe that there are people in this world who can commit such a crime.
The court heard that Ryan, a married man with two children, had been working as a taxi driver for seven years. His leg was amputated after he was involved in a serious accident as a 19-year-old and he suffers from hypertension, diabetes and potential cardiac difficulties.
Ryan has previous convictions for public order offences, common assault and forgery.