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Thursday 25 April 2019

Rapist who trapped victim in hotel room appeals 12-year term

Rapist Keith Hearne is to appeal his 12-year sentence for his vile attack on Dominique Meehan
Rapist Keith Hearne is to appeal his 12-year sentence for his vile attack on Dominique Meehan

A man jailed for 12 years for the rape of a young woman at a Dublin gaming convention is to appeal the severity of his sentence, the Herald has learned.

Keith Hearne (29) was jailed in 2017 for the 2015 rape and false imprisonment of Dominique Meehan, who was 24 years old at the time, at the Crowne Plaza in Blanchardstown.

Hearne, of Allenton Drive, Tallaght, locked the door of a conference room in the hotel, where he had cornered his victim, bound her hands with his tie and raped her.

When she screamed, he told her he had a knife in his bag and would use it if she was not quiet.

Knife

His bag, containing a "rape kit" of a prop knife, handcuffs, condoms, a mask and "sado-masochistic" items, was later found at the scene, the Central Criminal Court heard.

Ms Meehan, who waived her right to anonymity after Hearne was convicted, was only saved when another person forced their way into the room when they heard the disturbance inside.

She has since said she feared Hearne would kill her.

Hearne, now known as Prisoner 107512, pleaded guilty to two counts of rape, one count of oral rape and one count of falsely imprisoning Ms Meehan.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy handed down the 12-year sentence at the Central Criminal Court, saying the ordeal had been "devastating" for the victim.

The judge said Hearne had perpetrated an "extremely violent series of sexual offences" on the victim, extending to her false imprisonment over a period of time.

Dominique Meehan
Dominique Meehan

Last week, Ms Meehan was told that Hearne's appeal against the length of the sentence handed down to him will be heard in April, with the case expected to come before the Court of Appeal on April 12.

When Hearne was imprisoned, he was first taken to Mountjoy to be processed into the jail system.

It is usual for prisoners to spend their first night in the Dublin jail, but in Hearne's case he was transferred straight to the Midlands Prison over fears he could be attacked by other inmates.

After Hearne was sentenced, Ms Meehan said she would have to reinvent herself because she had forgotten who she was before the brutal event.

"I don't know who I am any more. I can't remember who I was before I was raped, and I'm trying to reinvent myself so I'll know who I am," she told the Herald at the time.

"I don't know how I'm going to proceed from here.

"In my opinion that person that he raped is dead. That person was so naive, so innocent, because I suppose I believed those kind of things didn't happen to people.

Awful

"I'd see it in the news and in the papers, but I just couldn't believe that something that awful could happen to someone, but now I know it does, so that person, I believe, is dead," she added.

Last year, the brave Donegal woman wrote a letter to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, in which she raised concerns over the availability of treatment and services supplied to rape victims.

In it, she highlighted a lack of Sexual Assault Treatment Units (SATUs) in the country, and the confusion surrounding the services available for survivors going through the justice system.

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