A Clare resident has received a 10-year sentence with three suspended for raping his pregnant ex-girlfriend at gunpoint in her home, threatening to kill her and breaking her front teeth.
The 44-year-old man, who suffers from bipolar disorder, was found guilty by a jury after a 14-day trial last January of rape, anal rape, false imprisonment, possessing a firearm and threatening to kill the woman on September 9, 2007.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to assaulting the woman causing her harm on the same occasion.
Mr Justice Paul Carney said the case had been represented as “some sort of family law dispute” following 27 breakups but he considered it “no such thing.”
“It was serious criminality involving a life-threatening siege which was diffused only by the extraordinary skilled and sensitive approach by the gardaí”, he said.
Mr Justice Carney said the victim “was told to look down the barrel of the gun so she would see the bullet coming out”, she was told her friends would be shot when it got light outside and to pass the time she would be raped.
The judge said he didn’t accept alcohol or drug problems or a dysfunctional background as defence in the case, but acknowledged the man had been hardworking and industrious all his life.
He backdated the sentence to September 2007, declared the man a sex offender and ordered that he undergo five years post-release supervision.
Earlier the man’s father told defence counsel, Mr John Phelan SC, that his son’s on-off relationship with the complainant had affected his mental health and that his behaviour on the night was “absolutely abnormal”.
The father accepted his son had previous relationships with ladies suffering from Bipolar disorder, saying: “Maybe women are his problem”.
Mr Phelan read out a brief apology letter in court in which his client expressed his regret, “humbly and sincerely”, for the injuries and distress he inflicted on his then six months pregnant ex-partner.
Mr Phelan submitted to Mr Justice Carney that though his client didn’t accept the rape convictions, he was deeply remorseful for frightening “the great love of his life” with the shotgun.
Counsel further submitted that the man was “engaged in productive behaviour” in jail, was most repentant and accepted he must face the penalty for his actions.
The victim described the night as “mentally torturous” and said she had been made to believe her death and the death of her unborn baby were imminent.
Her victim impact report outlines that she suffers panic attacks, is less trusting of people and found the court case very stressful.
She said the accused was controlling and did not like her getting on with her life. She described an “extreme fear” of the accused, feels he will resent her for giving evidence in court and is fearful about his eventual release.