Court to set sentencing date for man on five charges of raping young girls in Athlone

Some of the protests after the incident in Athlone last September.

A man who has admitted raping two young girls who went missing from a birthday party is to be sentenced at the Central Criminal Court.

The 30-year-old man has pleaded guilty to five charges of raping the girls at a house in Athlone in September 28 last year.

The alarm was raised when the girls, aged 6 and 9, went missing from a birthday party nearby.

The defendant is from the Midlands and he cannot be named for legal reasons.

He admits raping one of the girls three times and the other twice.

Today he appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes at Athlone District Court. State solicitor for county Westmeath, Peter Jones, told judge Hughes that the defendant could be sent forward to the Central Criminal Court on signed pleas.

He informed the court that the Director of Public Prosecutions had formally consented to this action in writing.

Solicitor Gearoid Geraghty confirmed to the court that his client was pleading guilty to all five charges.

Brian McDonald of Media West was in court.

He says a date for sentencing could be set in a matter of weeks or months.

He said: "He has been returned now to Castlerea Prison, where he has been since October - and he will wait there until the court sets his sentencing date.

"We expect that it could even be in a matter of weeks if not months."

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