Man raped partner after they bought engagement ring

pic: Joshua StJohn

A recovering alcoholic tried to force his partner to drink vodka from a bottle then raped and assaulted her at a house they shared in Donegal, a court heard today.

The accused pleaded guilty to rape, aggravated sexual assault and assault, on August 17, 2008.

Garda Claire O'Hara told the Central Criminal Court yesterday that the two were partners at the time – and have one child together – but have since separated.

Gda O'Hara said that the accused and victim were both recovering alcoholics and had been off drink for some months prior to this incident.

She said that on the morning preceding these events the two had gone into town and paid off some debts. That day, they had also purchased an engagement ring which had been chosen for some time.

At around 8pm that evening, the accused went out socialising and was “drinking very heavily throughout that evening”, said the garda. He returned to the home he shared with the woman after 3am.

She was in bed and he started cursing at her for ringing him while he was out socialising. He had a bottle of vodka in his hand and he forced it into her mouth. She jumped out of the bed and he grabbed her and committed the offences.

She sustained very heavy bruising around her face and eyes. She waited at the house until the accused fell asleep and she then escaped.

The woman, who was not in court, submitted a victim impact statement, which was read out by the garda. In the statement, she said that she has since left the area where the offences occurred and that she is now “virtually a recluse”.

She said she has “flashbacks and nightmares” of her ordeal and has gone from being a friendly woman to a nervous person. She is not able to form relationships with men and cannot be alone with a man.

The court heard that the accused told gardaí he had been raped when he was young.

Defence Counsel, Brendan Grehan SC, handed in a number of testimonials to the court on behalf of his client. He also read an apology from the accused, in which he stated that three lives had been torn apart – his, his former partner's and their child's.

Mr Grehan noted that the accused had pleaded guilty in advance of the trial date. He said that his client has no previous convictions for sexual offences or any serious violence.

Mr Justice Paul Carney remanded the accused in custody for sentencing next Monday, July 30.

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