A man has been charged with the rape of a 21-year-old woman who was found partially naked and hypothermic in the grounds of a derelict house in Fermoy, Co Cork last month.
The 39-year-old man appeared before a special sitting of Bandon District Court in west Cork on Saturday where he was charged with the rape of the woman at Castlehyde in Fermoy on November 19th.
Det Sgt Danny Holland told Judge Colm Roberts that the defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, made no reply when the charge was put to him after caution at 3am on Saturday.
Dt Sgt Holland said that the injured party was in Fermoy in order to attend a birthday party on the evening of November 18th. She left the nightclub at about 2am.
One of her friends received a call from her at about 2.30am where she was shouting for assistance. However, the call was cut off.
Det Sgt Holland said shortly afterwards one of the injured party’s friends received a Snapchat message from her where she was again asking for help. Her friends went looking for her around the town but they were unable to find her.
At about 5am they raised the alarm and informed gardaí who also started to search for the young woman.
Gardaí looked at the Snapchat message and determined it had been sent from the Castlehyde area.
They searched the area and found the young woman in a derelict house at around 8am.
The young woman was naked from the waist down except for one sock. She had sustained cuts on her arms which suggested that she had run through brambles. She was conscious but not responsive. She was also hypothermic and unable to give gardaí any account of how she got to the property.
Det Sgt Holland said that it was fortunate that the injured party was found "when she was" as he "would have had serious concerns for her health and welfare."
Transfer to hospital
She was subsequently taken for treatment at Cork University Hospital in the city. She then went for an examination at the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit at the South Infirmary Hospital.
Gardaí collected CCTV footage from around the town. They established that the woman was stumbling and intoxicated when she left the nightclub at around 2am on November 19th.
She began flagging down vehicles on a street in the town and got into the back seat of a car on MacCurtain Street.
Gardaí got a partial registration number and the make and model of the car and tracked it via CCTV to an address in Munster.
A man was arrested for questioning and subsequently detained at Fermoy Garda Station. Forensic Science Ireland established that a swab taken from the man was a DNA match for semen found on a vaginal swab taken from the injured party.
The man told gardaí that he had picked up the woman who fell asleep. He claimed that he tried to wake her but was unable to do so. He told investigating gardai that he thought she might have been drugged.
He said he drove into a laneway and then went into the back seat with the woman and had sex with her. He said that she got out of the car and fled and that he threw her clothes, boots and phone to her before he drove home.
The phone was later found concealed behind a tree off the main Fermoy-Ballyhooly road, around 200 metres from where the woman was found. Her clothes were found on the road another 200 metres away.
Dt Sgt Holland said he feared that the man posed as a flight risk and would flee the country if he received bail in the case. The court heard that the man moved to Ireland in recent years and has returned home several times on holidays.
He was cross-examined by the accused’s solicitor Daithí O’Donabhain. Det Sgt Holland confirmed under cross-examination that the man had been living in the same house with his wife and children for the last two years.
However, he said that he would not be satisfied with bail being granted in the case no matter how stringent the bail conditions put in place.
Judge Roberts declined to grant bail in the case. He remanded the man in custody to appear at Fermoy District Court on December 9th.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800 77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help.