herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Rapist forced friend to have sex after she injured back

A MAN who raped his close friend in exchange for "essential medical assistance" after she fell and broke three bones in her back has been sentenced to eight years.

Peter Fletcher (29) had applied many times to become a Garda member, and had served in the Navy for five years but was honourably discharged after he left of his own accord.

He was driving the woman home when he pulled into an isolated area in Kildare and called her into a derelict building where he raped and sexually assaulted her.

The woman was later treated for three fractured vertebrae and had to wear a back brace.

The court heard that Fletcher and the woman had previously dated and remained close friends at the time of the rape.

Fletcher of Esker Court, Clara, Co Offaly, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape and sexual assault of the woman on September 25, 2010. He has no previous convictions.

Detective Sergeant Aidan Hannon told Karen O'Connor, prosecuting, that Fletcher saw his friend fall. She told him that she was afraid she had broken her back.

She told him she needed to go to hospital but he forced her to her feet and told her if she took her top off he would bring her to the hospital.

She eventually stripped to her bra and he sexually assaulted her.

She managed to distract him and head for the door but he caught her and pulled her back before he tried to have sex with her.

Scream

The woman begged him to stop and said she couldn't breathe. She asked him to get water from the car and when he did so, she again tried to leave the yard. Fletcher pulled her by the hair and she fell on the ground.

"That was a stupid idea. There's no one around and no one who will hear you scream," Fletcher said before he raped her.

Afterwards he told the woman, "that's it, I am done with you, you are not going to see me again". He then drove the woman home to her mother.

The woman said in her victim impact statement that she has attempted suicide by overdosing on paracetamol and has started to abuse alcohol.

She said prior to the rape she had been happy and had a good focus on life. She had a good upbringing and had been a very happy child.

The victim said on the day of the attack "my whole world was shattered" after she was raped by "someone I had known and trusted for a long time".

"It has haunted me every day since. I did not know if I would see my family again," the woman said.

Mr Justice Paul Carney had previously commented that it seems it was the case that "essential medical treatment was being traded for sex".

He sentenced Fletcher to eight years for the rape charge and two years for sexual assault. The sentences will run concurrently.

hnews@herald.ie

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