Jail for man who raped woman on her way home from collecting son from playschool
A Cork man who repeatedly raped and tied up a mother after abducting her and her four-year-old son has been jailed for 15 years at the Central Criminal Court.
Michael Murray (aged 42) lured the woman into an apartment by telling her that an elderly woman was dying inside and needed her help.
He then tied her up and assaulted her before taking her son away and abandoning him in a city centre square in the middle of the night. He returned to the flat where he drugged the victim and raped her with a make up pen and his finger.
Murray, formerly of Killiney Oaks, Killiney, Dublin and with a previous address at Devonshire Street, Cork City, had pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault, two counts of rape with a make-up pen, attempted vaginal and anal rape, oral rape and aggravated sexual assault between February 12 and 13, 2010 in a Dublin city apartment.
He also denied child abduction, threats to kill or cause serious harm, false imprisonment, stealing a bank card and stealing cash from two ATMs. He was found guilty on all counts by a unanimous jury decision last July.
Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said that given the gravity of the offences the appropriate sentence could not be less than 15 years. He said there were no mitigating factors and that Murray is unlikely to be rehabilitated in the relatively near future.
He said there was no basis for leaving “light at the end of the tunnel” but that the sentence could have been greater that 15 years were it not for that principal of sentencing.
The judge said that the dominant factor in the woman's victim impact report was fear.
In the report, read into court by counsel, the woman, said: “I thought Ireland was a safe country for me and my husband to raise my family. I'm not so sure anymore.” The woman has since moved out of the capital as a result of the attack.
Detective Sergeant Dennis Ellard told Dominic McGinn SC, prosecuting, that at around 4.30pm Murray lured the woman into the flat. Once inside he told her that if she had sex with him he would let her and her son go.
When she refused he said he would kill her. The victim broke a glass and threatened to cut her own throat. Murray put his hands around her son’s neck and said he would kill him if she didn't co-operate.
Murray tied the woman's hands behind her back using a cord. He took cash and bank cards from her wallet and demanded her bank PIN numbers. He would later use these to steal cash from her bank account.
Murray made her change into a black lace night dress and told her she had to pretend she was ten years old and call him Daddy.
He tied the woman's hands and began sexually assaulting her but was interrupted by her son. The victim tried to reassure her son and told him that he should behave because “this was a bad man”.
Murray then tied the woman up to a radiator in the bathroom and gagged her with a dishcloth before taking her son away in his jeep. He left the child on a city centre street at around 11 o'clock at night.
He returned to the flat and began to beat the woman around the face and shoulder because she had broken some bathroom tiles in trying to free herself.
Mr McGinn told the court: “Over the next number of hours he subjected her to a protracted and depraved sexual assault.”
He tried to vaginally rape her but he could not sustain an erection. Murray became angry and began hitting the victim. He then raped her using a mascara pen and his finger.
Murray told the victim that he had sold a small girl to a man and that he would do the same to her. He made her take two tablets which made her drowsy but she kept herself awake by biting her lip.
The trial heard evidence that Murray had run a head shop business and was consuming a cocaine like substance called Mephedrone throughout the night.
Murray finally left the apartment just after 5am and the woman managed to free herself. Det Sgt Ellard told the court: “She searched every room, every press, looking for her son”.
The woman armed herself with a knife because she was afraid Murray would come back. She smashed a window and began throwing plates out on to the street.
By this time gardai had found the woman's son safely. They found her in the flat after passers by reported a disturbance.
Det Sgt Ellard said: “She was hysterical. Her main concern was for her son.”
Murray drove to Dublin Airport and bought a ticket for a flight to London but didn't board the flight. He went drinking in the city centre and was arrested the next day, on Sunday evening, in the Morrison hotel.
The woman said that she is now very protective of her children and that her son, now aged seven, still sleeps in her bed because of her fear.
She said she went into the flat to try to help because she thought someone was sick. The judge described this as an “act of charity” that resulted from the woman's experience of Irish people being “welcoming”.
The woman said: “I find it very hard to trust people. I always think they could be evil and bad persons like the man who kidnapped and raped me”.
She added that she locks herself in her bedroom if she is at home on her own because of her fear. She said that her son stills talks about “the bad man” but she hopes he will forget someday.
Mark Lynam BL, defending, said his client maintained his innocence. He said counsel have been instructed to vigorously appeal both the verdict and the sentence and an application for further legal aid in that event was granted.
The judge ordered that a transcript of the trial be granted to Garda Superintendent Jim Hynes who was present in court. During the trial Murray claimed to be running an escort agency in locations around Dublin and the midlands.
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