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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Traumatised rape victim 'feared I would be killed in front of my son' during horror hammer attack

'The woman delivered a powerful victim impact statement during a sentencing hearing of her husband, who was convicted at the Central Criminal Court of raping and threatening to kill his wife over a three-month period' (stock photo)
'The woman delivered a powerful victim impact statement during a sentencing hearing of her husband, who was convicted at the Central Criminal Court of raping and threatening to kill his wife over a three-month period' (stock photo)

A Dublin woman who was raped and beaten by her husband with a hammer said she feared she was going to be murdered in front of their four-year-old son.

The woman delivered a powerful victim impact statement during a sentencing hearing of her husband, who was convicted at the Central Criminal Court of raping and threatening to kill his wife over a three-month period.

It was only the third conviction of rape within a marriage in Ireland since marital rape was made illegal in 1990.

The 46-year-old woman said that she and her young son are still suffering and the night of May 25, 2014, "will stay with me forever".

"From the moment I walked in the hall door and saw [the accused], I knew I had got things terribly wrong, his complete insistence and entitlement to me and [my son] no matter what," she said.

"The terror I felt when he took out the knife. I knew there was nothing I could do to stop him. That is one of the hardest things to live with.

"The rape left me with a complete sense of powerlessness, like everything of me had been taken away from me.

Terror

"Being raped has affected every piece of me, it went to the core of myself, I felt so broken and for a long time angry with myself for what I saw as 'letting it happen'," she added.

"The terror [the accused] continued to put me through during that never-ending night, the constant threats, instilled a level of fear that I never knew I could feel."

The victim paid tribute to the brave actions of a passerby who set his dog on the man and chased him off during a particularly horrific attack on both her and her mother.

She said that before going unconscious she feared she was going to be murdered in front of her four-year-old son after seeing the "cold determination and focus" of her husband.

"I will never forget, before I went unconscious, looking down at the door of the room where [my son] was sleeping and thinking whatever happens now 'don't come out, don't see this'," she said.

"I believed in that moment I was going to die. I know if it wasn't for the actions of [a passer-by] I may not be alive."

The victim's ordeal began at the start of 2014 when she told her husband of nine years that she wanted a separation.

Their marriage had been under strain for some time. The man was jealous of the woman's successful career and unhappy about the attention she was giving their young son.

On May 25, 2014, they were arguing when he picked up a carving knife and threatened to cut her face open.

He then told her "right, upstairs".

He raped her in the spare bedroom while telling her to open her eyes and insisting they weren't separating.

The next day she went to the Family Court and obtained a interim barring order. She did not disclose the rape for five months because she couldn't bring herself to admit it, she said.

In the following weeks the woman realised her husband was tracking her phone and knew her location at all times.

On August 6 he rang her at home and said he was going to "end things tonight".

The next day he showed up at her parents' house demanding to see their son. The woman and her mother refused to let him in. He returned with a hammer and attacked both women. His wife lost consciousness at one stage.

It was at this point that a passerby set his dog on the accused who swung the hammer at them. This man then chased the accused away.

In June at the Central Criminal Court a jury convicted him of raping his wife and of threatening to cut her face. He was also convicted of threatening to kill the woman the next day over the phone.

Yesterday he was remanded in continuing custody until July 25 when Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy will impose sentence.

The prosecution said at one stage the accused blamed "black magic" and "the occult" for the hammer attack.

The defence said his client was judged to be at a low risk of committing future violence and that he was ashamed of his actions. The defence said his client will find prison very difficult as a foreign national, far away from his family.

The 42-year-old man had his barrister read a letter of apology to the court for the hammer attack - but made no reference to the rape or other charges.

Crimes

In her victim impact statement, his wife said that she was in a "complete state of confusion and turmoil" throughout the entire ordeal.

"All of the crimes both individually and collectively have had a devastating and long-lasting impact on me and [my son], who is six now," she said.

"The psychological impact of that day cannot be erased. While everything in my head rationally knows that I have absolutely no responsibility for each and every one of these crimes, it's a very different thing to feel it and believe it."

She said that she feels "responsible" for changing the lives of her parents because she went to their house to be safe.

"But this experience and these events don't define me, the inner strength and courage that I found, which kept me alive during some of those horrendous events and sustained me up to and during this trial, gives me and [my son] a strong foundation for living very positive and happy lives."

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