herald

Monday 5 December 2016

Man raped wife and threatened to cut her face open as son slept

The jury of 11 men and one woman returned staggered guilty verdicts over a two-day period having deliberated for a total of 11 hours.
The jury of 11 men and one woman returned staggered guilty verdicts over a two-day period having deliberated for a total of 11 hours.

A man has been found guilty of raping his wife and threatening to cut her face open with a carving knife as their marriage was breaking down.

It is thought to be only the third successful prosecution of rape within a marriage since marital rape was made illegal in 1990.

The woman wept in court as the rape verdict came in.

The 13-day trial at the Central Criminal Court heard the accused began threatening violence against the woman after she told him she wanted to separate in early 2014.

The jury heard the relationship had been under strain for some time due to the man's jealousy of his wife's successful career and the attention she was giving their infant child.

The woman obtained a barring order against her husband the day after he raped her and threatened to cut her face open with a carving knife.

However, he continued to threaten her over the phone and in person.

The woman gave evidence that she had to stay in contact with the accused because a family court judge ruled he should have access to their child.

The man denied the charges.

The jury of 11 men and one woman returned staggered guilty verdicts over a two-day period having deliberated for a total of 11 hours.

Damage

They convicted the man of raping his wife in their home in May 2014 as their son slept downstairs and of threatening to cut her face immediately beforehand.

He was also convicted of threatening to kill the woman the next day over the phone.

Jurors failed to reach verdicts on charges that he head-butted her and threatened to do "serious damage to her" when they met to discuss custody of their son.

His defence counsel suggested the issues of ownership of their house or custody of their son might be the reasons behind the allegations, along with feelings of bitterness or revenge.

The 42-year-old had already pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife with a hammer in 2014.

The defence questioning of the woman focused on why, as a strong, intelligent woman, she didn't leave her husband after he first became threatening.

Referring to an incident when the man doused the living room in lighter fluid, Mr Padraig Dwyer SC, defending, suggested it was like "something out of a horror film" and that she must have been in fear of her life.

"He is now potentially homicidal and suicidal," counsel said. "It would surely cause you to leave, if in fact it was true."

Asked why she didn't leave and go to gardai she said: "I've asked myself that question, I've asked myself that question about a lot of things. Why didn't I leave earlier? It was a last resort for me to go to the guards and make statements."

Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy ordered the man be registered as a sex offender and remanded him in custody for sentencing on July 18 next.

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