A Mayo man has been convicted of imprisoning and beating his ex-girlfriend but acquitted of her rape.
A Central Criminal Court jury found the 29-year-old guilty of punching the woman and detaining her in a bedroom. The victim was rescued when neighbours were alerted by her screams and contacted gardaí.
The accused had pleaded not guilty to rape and sexual assault of the woman in Mayo on January 9 and January 10, 2009. He has also denied two charges of assault causing harm to the woman and false imprisonment on the same dates.
During the nine-day trial, the court heard he has 27 previous convictions, including drug possession, possession of knives and road traffic offences. A Mayo garda told the court that the accused had not worked in years.
The 22-year-old victim gave evidence that on the night of the incident she let the man into her house but he ‘seemed different’.
She told Conor Devally SC, prosecuting, she became very scared when he asked her if she had any knives in the house, so she hid the knives above a cupboard.
She said she asked him to leave but he lifted her up over his shoulder and carried her into the bedroom, threw her on the bed and locked the door behind himself. She said she tried to resist him but he was too strong.
She screamed for help. She said each time she ran for the window he would fling her back or else put his hands up to her throat and try to strangle her. She said at one point he punched her, breaking her glasses and causing her nose to bleed all over her face.
She said she then saw a light from a torch outside and managed to get to the bedroom window and jump out. She told Mr Devally: “It was the guards. I jumped out as fast as I could. I was so glad to see them. I grabbed on to one of the guard’s arm really tight.”
Giving evidence in his own defence, the man claimed she had hurt herself when they fell off the bed during a row about her mobile phone. “We fell off the bed and I fell on top of her on the ground. I turned on the light and saw there was blood on her lip.” He denied he was possessive of the woman and denied he constructed a tale to fit the evidence about “accidents, falls and arguments.”
After six-and-a-half hours’ deliberation, the Central Criminal Court jury found him guilty of false imprisonment and the two assault charges. He was found not guilty of rape and sexual assault.
Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan remanded him on continuing bail until sentencing later this month and ordered he have no contact with his victim. A victim impact report was also ordered.