Newry rapist sentenced to 7 years in prison
Detectives from the Serious Crime Branch have welcomed the sentence handed down to a convicted rapist at Newry Crown Court.
The offences relate to a serious sexual assault on a 23 year old woman in Newry on Sunday, 11th December 2011.
The High Court had previously been told that the accused also stole the victim’s mobile phone and gave it to his girlfriend ‘as a present’.
O’Callaghan of Monog Road, Crossmaglen had denied false imprisonment, rape and stealing the victim’s purse, bank cards, cash and a mobile phone.
During the court case, prosecutors claimed the woman was sexually assaulted in a car then ‘thrown onto the streets’ after accepting a lift home. O’Callaghan however, claimed the woman consented to sex.
On the night in question, the court heard that a car with two men inside pulled up to her and offered her a lift as she walked towards Sugar Island last December.
The woman said she only accepted the lift because she assumed she knew the two men after one had called her ‘by name’. It was then alleged that as the car drove off the doors were locked.
When the car did eventually stop, according to the prosecution, the passenger got out and Padraig O’Callaghan climbed into the back of the car and raped the woman.
The prosecution continued, “When they then stopped in Stream Street, the passenger got out and grabbed her from the rear seat and threw her onto the street.”
According to the prosecution, the woman ran back to get her belongings and was driven off again to North Street where O’Callaghan dragged her from the car, throwing her handbag out with her.
The prosecution said that swabs taken from the woman matched O’Callaghan’s DNA and the accused had initially denied any contact with the woman but later changed his statement to claim he had consensual sex with her.
Defending O’Callaghan, his lawyer insisted his client and the woman were kissing in the back of the car and for this reason his passenger decided to leave momentarily. “He got out of the passenger side and stood and waited outside while they had intimacy and sexual intercourse.”
This claim however, was contested by Mr Justice McLaughlin, who questioned how the co-accused could confirm what happened.
He asked, “How does he know? Was he dogging, having a wee duke through the door window while they were doing it?”
Following the sentencing, DC Haughey, Rape Crime Unit, said, “This was a traumatic and vindictive attack where the victim was ridiculed and intimidated. We are pleased to see the sentence handed down and hope this sends a clear message to all offenders.
He added, “Sexual offending is unacceptable and if you offend, we will bring you before the courts. The victim in this case should be recognised for her bravery throughout the investigation.”
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