Midlands man accused of raping woman after party at GAA clubhouse

Declan Brennan

Reporter:

Declan Brennan

Midlands man accused of raping woman after party at GAA clubhouse

Midlands man accused of raping woman after party at GAA clubhouse

A Westmeath man accused of raping a woman he met at a New Year’s Eve ball has told a jury that the complainant never made any reference to sex before coming back to his house.

The 33-year-old man has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to a single charge of rape at his home in Westmeath on January 1, 2017.

The complainant was visiting a friend and had planned to spend the night in that woman's home after going to a ball in the local GAA clubhouse. She met the accused and they were kissing.

She said at some point she couldn't find her friend and believed she had no other option but to accept an invitation to the man's house. She said that she told him there would be no sexual activity and he agreed but that minutes after entering his home he attacked her and raped her in his front sitting room.

In garda interviews, the accused said that he and the woman were having consensual penetrative sex for about 20 seconds when the woman said: “stop stop”. He said he stopped and the woman sat up and became upset.

On day six of the trial, the man took to the stand. He told Caroline Biggs SC, defending, that he has worked as a scaffolder for the last eight years.

He said he met the complainant on the night and they were talking “chit chat” and drinking shots of Sambuca together. He said he drank six pints and three shots.

He said that at one stage he leaned over to kiss her and she kissed back and they were then talking more and got more drinks.

He said: “There came a stage in the night where I thought things were going very well” and he asked her to come to his home. He said she thought about it and then agreed to go with him.

Asked if the complainant indicated that she would not be having sex with him, the defendant said: “there was no indication one way or another.”

Ms Biggs then asked, “what was your hope, your intention with her coming home with you?”. The accused replied, “to have sex”.

Frank Abbot, a civil engineer, gave evidence of carrying out an engineer’s report of the family home where the alleged rape took place. He said that many of the interior walls were stud walls and that they were “hopeless” from the point of view of attenuation of sound.

He said he carried out a test in which he used a meter to measure the decibel level (dB) of a radio broadcast from the sitting room. He found that when the sound in the sitting room was recorded at 80 dB in the sitting room, it was recorded at around 50 dB in the upstairs bedroom.

He said he believed this was the bedroom where the mother of the accused was sleeping on the night of the alleged rape. He told the jury that the level of a shout is around 80 dB and the level of ordinary conversation is between 40 dB and 60 dB.

The trial continues before Justice Paul McDermott and a jury.