herald

Sunday 11 December 2016

Down syndrome woman who was raped is now too frightened to go out alone

Courts

The victim watched proceedings via video link and became very upset as her mother read out the statement.
The victim watched proceedings via video link and became very upset as her mother read out the statement.

A young woman with Down Syndrome who was raped in Dublin city centre said she has flashbacks and cannot go out alone because she is "too scared".

Pakistani national Faisal Ellahi was convicted of luring the woman, in her 20s, to his flat and raping and sexually assaulting her.

At a sentencing hearing yesterday at the Criminal Courts of Justice, the victim's mother said all the hard work that had given the woman some independence was "wiped out by such depravity".

She also read out a statement prepared by the victim which said: "I feel so scared at all times since he did that to me.

"I feel confused, angry and shocked. Sometimes I get flashbacks. Flashbacks make me feel scared that I can't sleep, sometimes I have bad dreams.

"I can't go out on my own any more because I am too scared."

The victim watched proceedings via video link and became very upset as her mother read out the statement.

Her mother said that follow- ing the rape, her daughter began sleeping with her in bed and would have night terrors. She also began having seizures. The symptoms abated after a while but returned in the run-up to the trial.

Sadness

"He has robbed our family of the last two-and-a-half years and (the victim) of the future she might have had. I feel a great sadness for her and a huge sense of loss," she said. "As her mother, I don't think I'll be able to let her out on her own again."

The court heard the young woman had been out jogging with her mother on June 12, 2013 at around 3.45pm, but became separated from her.

It was then that Ellahi approached and lured her back to his flat where he raped her over the course of the next hour.

Insp Sean Campbell told the court that the woman arrived home after the rape screaming for her mother and shouting to be let in. Her mother described her as "white as a sheet" and "shaking like a leaf".

The woman was later taken to the area by gardai and was able to point out Ellahi's building on two occasions and DNA swabs taken from her matched Ellahi's DNA.

Ellahi pleaded not guilty last year to rape and sexual assault at his Dublin home, but was found guilty last month. He continued to deny the charges and maintained his position that he did not know the woman had Down syndrome.

He has no previous convictions in this jurisdiction and gardai are unaware of any convictions in his native country.

Ellahi's defence counsel, Padraig Dwyer, submitted that his client has an IQ of 73. He also submitted that he had propositioned 16 other women in the area, including one just minutes after the rape.

The hearing was adjourned until Monday. When the evidence concludes, Mr Justice Tony Hunt will set a date for sentencing.

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