A man who raped his partner with a deodorant can before absconding from his trial and fleeing to the UK has been jailed for four and a half years.
The 33-year-old Clare man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his former partner, was convicted by a jury in his absence after he failed to show up to the closing stages of his Central Criminal Court trial in November 2017.
He was found guilty of one count of raping the woman – the mother of his two children – with a deodorant bottle in her home on October 26th, 2014. He was acquitted of one count of criminal damage.
Two months after the attack, the man sent the woman messages calling her a “dirty tramp” and a “dirty sl*t”, adding: “I’m not one bit sorry…I would do it all again”, the court heard.
The attack involved a level of violence and “intentional humiliation and degradation perpetrated on the injured party”, Patrick Reynolds BL, prosecuting, told the court.
Sentencing the man on Tuesday, Mr Justice Paul McDermott noted the couple had a somewhat difficult and abusive relationship.
He said the trial had reached the stage of judge’s charge when the man did not appear and the case continued in his absence resulting in the conviction.
Mr Justice McDermott noted from the exchange of texts that the man “took some satisfaction from the fact that he had assaulted his partner” in the “humiliating and degrading” way he had.
The judge said the woman was violently and sexually assaulted in her own home in “an attack that was sudden, shocking and unexpected”.
“It was particularly disturbing given she was the mother of his two children,” Mr Justice McDermott commented.
He took into account that the man has since led a more productive and stable life. He now accepts his guilt and says he is sorry for what he has done, with that remorse expressed both in a letter he had prepared for the court and for his former partner, the judge noted.
Mr Justice McDermott imposed a sentence of six and a half years, but suspended the final two years of the term on strict conditions including that the man not approach the woman, other than in relation to the welfare of their children or by her express invitation.
He ordered that the man remain under the supervision of the Probation Service for three years upon his release from prison adding that a post-release supervision order was not necessary alongside the three-year supervision.
The sentence was backdated to July 22nd, 2021, when the man first went into custody.
A local garda sergeant told the man’s sentence hearing last November that the man and woman, who had an on-and-off-again relationship, were in her home on the evening in question.
When the woman went to the bathroom, the man checked her phone and read some Facebook messages between her and another person, the court heard.
He then followed the woman upstairs and struck her a couple of times as she came out of the bathroom, before knocking her on to the bed before raping her. Afterwards, he “threw her into the shower”, the court heard.
The woman managed to escape the house and sought help from a neighbour before being driven to the house of one of the man’s relatives. She confided in his mother about the attack the next morning. The woman reported the incident nine months later, in July 2015.
The court heard the pair resumed a sexual relationship for a short while during this period. The woman has now “moved on with her life”, the garda said.
She was not in court and declined to give a victim impact statement.
The court heard the man fled to the UK where he has lived for the last four years, but was arrested in July 2021.
He initially gave police a false name before his true identity was uncovered and he was returned to Ireland to be sentenced.
Defence barrister Roisin Lacey SC said that during this time the man worked in the UK and sent back money to support his children. He has a number of previous convictions including assault and breaching a barring order.
Defence counsel said the man came from an “acutely dysfunctional background”. His childhood was marred by alcohol abuse and domestic violence, the court heard. He has learning difficulties and has struggled with alcohol and drug abuse.
Ms Lacey said her client apologises “profusely” to the court for his absence at the end of his trial. She submitted her client is “incredibly remorseful” regarding his offending.