A violent rapist who attacked a foreign student in her own home after following her from a bus stop has lost his appeal to reduce the length of time he will serve behind bars.
Ibrahim Ahmed Gharib (43) had pleaded not guilty to raping, sexually assaulting and threatening to kill the woman at her home between July 7th and 8th, 2016.
He also denied sexual assault of the then 27-year-old victim during a bus journey from Dublin to Carlow on July 7th.
But a jury did not accept his pleas and in February 2018, Gharib, of Dolmen Heights, Pollerton, Co Carlow, was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment, with the final two years suspended, by Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy following a three-week trial at the Central Criminal Court.
Gharib, who is an Egyptian national, later lost an appeal against his conviction and on Tuesday, the Court of Appeal turned down his attempt to reduce his jail time.
Lawyers for Gharib submitted to the court that the headline sentence of 12 years for the offence had been set too high.
It was also argued that Ms Justice Kennedy had erred in principle in that she had failed to suspend a greater portion of the term imposed.
Rejecting the appeal, Mr Justice George Birmingham, presiding, said “significant gratuitous violence and a threat to kill” had been committed against the victim.
“The accused had accompanied the injured party to her dwelling, entered the dwelling where she should have been safe, humiliated her and engaged in violence,” the judge said.
He said the court had concluded that “no error in principle” had been made by the trial judge when sentencing Gharib and that there hasn’t been “any hint of remorse” from him since the attack.
His trial was told that during the assault the woman was crying and screaming and Gharib threatened to kill her if she did not keep quiet. He had earlier sexually assaulted the victim during a bus journey from Dublin to Carlow before following her home.
Garda Sylvia Ryan told the trial that the victim was living and working in Ireland for the summer of 2016. On the day in question, she took a bus from Carlow to Dublin to visit a friend.
She met Gharib on the bus and the pair got talking. They then visited Stephen's Green together, where Gharib tried to kiss her. The woman rejected his advances and shortly afterwards, said goodbye to him and met her friend at Trinity College.
The victim was returning to Carlow that night and her friend walked her to the bus station. The court heard she was uneasy to discover that Gharib was going to be on the same bus home.
Gda Ryan said the woman got on the bus first and put her rucksack on the seat beside her, but the man sat beside her anyway. During the bus journey, Gharib sexually assaulted her by groping her, while she tried to fend him off.
The court heard Gharib then accompanied the woman to her home. “She was extremely unhappy about this,” prosecution counsel Pauline Walley SC said, adding the woman told him to leave. Instead, Gharib came with her into her house.
He asked to use the bathroom and when he emerged, he started masturbating in front of her, the court heard. When she threatened to take a photo of him, he became angry and started groping her, before they fell on the stairs and he raped her.
The front door remained open during the attack. The woman screamed throughout and Gharib threatened to kill her if she did not stop.
One of her housemates heard her screaming and came to the landing of the house where he witnessed the rape. Gharib ran out of the house but was arrested at a later date in Dublin.
In a victim impact statement read out in court, the woman said: “The protective layer around me has broken down and I have very little trust in humans.”
She said she was now scared to be on public transport or in public places. Referring to the rape, the woman said: “In that moment, I wished to be dead. After this man raped me, I felt empty, as though nothing mattered.”