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Thursday 21 September 2017

'Nobody is safe' - rape victim's warning after violent attacker is released from jail

James Kelly is living in the Dublin area after his release from Arbour Hill Prison.
James Kelly is living in the Dublin area after his release from Arbour Hill Prison.

A woman who was violently raped over a two-hour period, in which her attacker tied a belt around her neck and threatened to kill her, has said she now fears for her safety after he was released from jail.

James Kelly (37), formerly of Willow Wood View, Hartstown, pleaded guilty at his trial to three counts of rape of the woman at a Dublin apartment on April 4, 2007.

Speaking to the Herald about her harrowing ordeal, the victim issued a stark warning for people to be vigilant and said she worries for the safety of people who are unaware of what he is capable of.

Kelly was recently released from Arbour Hill Prison and is believed to be staying in the Dublin area.

His victim said she feels uncertainty now that he is a free man.

Dangerous

"For the past few years I have felt safe because I knew where Kelly was. I knew he was in prison," she said.

"Now that he is free, that certainty about where he is has vanished. I don't know where he is anymore."

She also worries about anyone else who may come into contact with him not knowing of his dangerous past.

"If people don't know who he is they won't know anything about what he has done to me. That frightens me," the victim said.

The court heard Kelly had just met the woman at a house party and went back to her flat, where they continued to drink cans of beer.

The court heard how he came into the sitting room, having used the bathroom, and words were exchanged between the pair after he exposed himself.

The court heard that Kelly then grabbed the woman by her hair and forced her to perform a sex act on him, before he tied his belt around her neck and raped her.

He then pushed her head into the carpet and forced her to have sex.

The woman later told gardai that she had been in fear for her life and Kelly had threatened to kill her.

She got dressed after the assault and told Kelly she was going to get cigarettes before she left the flat and immediately reported the rape to gardai.

The woman was treated in hospital for multiple bruises to her body, including a large bruise across her eye and another on the bridge of her nose.

A victim impact report prepared for the court by a senior clinical psychologist concluded that the woman had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and a relapse into depression as a result of the rapes.

She had taken an overdose a number of months ago, but had said that this could not be directly attributed to Kelly's attack on her.

The report said she was suffering from nightmares most nights, has poor concentration, has lost her trust in men and sometimes experiences a choking sensation when eating due to the trauma she suffered as a result of the incident.

Kelly went voluntarily to a garda station the day after the incident.

He told gardai that the woman had been "half coming on to me" and was flirting with him, but admitted he had slapped her in the face and told her they were going to have sex.

Scared

Kelly said he forced himself on the victim and had grabbed her by the neck. He accepted she had been scared of him.

"I raped her and held her down," Kelly said.

"I felt I was out of control. I don't use violence in sex."

A report from a consultant psychiatrist before the court stated that Kelly regularly prayed for his victim and felt deep remorse and shame for what he had done.

He had 19 previous convictions, which included a four-year jail term for arson after he admitted to causing €490,000 of damage to a building.

Kelly was registered as a sex offender and sentenced to seven years at the Central Criminal Court.

He later unsuccessfully appealed the severity of the sentence.

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