'Low-grade pimp' jailed for raping and intimidating Kerry sex worker

Judge says 'I salute her unique courage' of young woman as he jails her rapist for 11 years
'Low-grade pimp' jailed for raping and intimidating Kerry sex worker

'The rapes were savage, callous and cruel,' said Mr Justice Michael White. 'He broke her and made her feel worthless.'

A so-called low-grade pimp who denied raping and intimidating a Kerry sex worker was jailed for 11 years as the sentencing judge said it was chilling to see his calculated and menacing coercion of a vulnerable young woman.

The 34-year-old victim said she cannot stop thinking about the day she was raped by Emmett O’Connor, 28, of Shronemore, Rathmore, Co Kerry, and feels like she is caught in the repetition of a Groundhog Day.

The young woman said, “I have never been so scared in my life. 

I have repeated nightmares of the crime. I wake up screaming and having cold sweats. I see him in the room even though he is not.

“I cannot get away from that day. It is always with me.” 

'I hope my strength will help women'

She finds it hard to trust anyone new coming into her life, but is drawing support from her family. 

“I hope my strength will help women in a similar situation to know there is help out there,” she said.

Colman Cody, senior counsel for the defendant, said the accused accepted the verdict in relation to organising prostitution, but maintained his innocence on the two rape convictions and the intimidation conviction.

“He had a horrendous childhood to say the least. This was a young man who did not have a caring environment when he was growing up… He was subjected to a lot of bullying and humiliating treatment in school.

“These convictions paint a bleak and black picture of Mr O’Connor,” Mr Cody SC said of the 28-year-old: 

But what emerges from testimonials of friends and members of his family is that he has shown himself to be a supportive and generous friend and father.

Unanimous guilty verdicts

The jury of six men and six women unanimously found him guilty in a trial that concluded on Christmas week 2020, on two counts of rape, one of organising prostitution, and one of intimidating the complainant.

The defence claimed that the prosecution had characterised the accused as a “low-grade pimp".  

Mr Justice Michael White said: “It is certainly one of the more serious cases I have had to deal with.” 

He sentenced Emmett O’Connor to eight years on each of the two rapes, two years consecutive for organising prostitution, and one year consecutive for intimidating his victim afterwards.

Judge: 'I salute her unique courage'

The judge said of the victim: “I salute her unique courage in giving evidence under pressure. She was naïve to get involved with him in the first place:  

She is a kind person seeking affection. I wish her well in the future.  

He said Emmett O’Connor began to organise and direct her prostitution with “increasing coercion, control and exploitation for monetary gain. She was getting increasingly concerned about his behaviour — his unwanted visits to her home and increasing abusive behaviour.” 

Mr Justice White said: “The rapes were savage, callous and cruel. He broke her and made her feel worthless.” 

Detective Sergeant Derek Mulcahy had warned the accused to have no contact with the complainant when first charged, but the judge said the drawings and messages O’Connor sent were sinister and threatening.

Mother and girlfriend lied

In the course of the two-week trial, the jury was given evidence of the garda interviews with the accused in which O’Connor admitted getting his girlfriend to arrange for herself and her mother to lie to gardaí in relation to alibi evidence for the accused on the date of the rapes — September 25, 2017. 

Both women later admitted they lied, and the defendant admitted being responsible for their lies.

Ultimately, he told gardaí that he had vaginal and anal sex with her as she described it, but that it was typical of their sexual relationship and it was consensual. 

Jury believed the victim  

The jury did not believe it was consensual and believed the victim when she told them she and the defendant had consensual rough sex of different kinds in the year before this but that on this date, not alone did she not consent but she bawled her eyes out and begged him to stop. He was convicted of two counts of rape — vaginal and anal — in the course of the same incident.

The complainant said that, on September 25, 2017 he caught her and put her over his shoulders and brought her upstairs in her home, threw her on the bed and raped her vaginally and anally. 

She said that she cried hysterically and asked him to stop. “I was bawling,” she said, adding she was in “a state". 

He was convicted of organising prostitution. The victim testified, “He was the boss of my prostitution.” 

Drawing of decapitation among taunts on Snapchat 

She had been a sex worker before she met the defendant, but he organised her business and instructed her to give all the money to him and she was paid each Thursday from this. 

She thought her cut was 70/30 or 60/40. But she said he would ‘fine’ her or ‘tax’ her if she missed an appointment or was drunk when a client arrived.

The intimidation included a Snapchat “drawing of a headless person hanging from a tree and a naked man wearing a crown holding aloft the severed head of a female, and the words, karma, suffer and c***,” and another message with the words, “I guess it takes a special kind of rape victim to want to stay close to her rapist".  

Prosecution senior counsel Roisín Lacey led Detective Garda Donal Dwyer through the evidence in the case at the sentencing hearing, including that the complainant and the accused had what she described as a robust sexual relationship. 

The accused said in his last interview with gardaí that the two counts of rape related to consensual sex where he said, “I had my way with her,” and that she was saying stop and enjoying it, but was not crying or looking upset and that they had consensual sex of this kind before.

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