herald

Saturday 22 September 2018

'It means nothing' - family rejects violent rapist's apology letter

Anthony Cassidy has written a letter of apology following a 35-minute attack on a woman in Carlow
Anthony Cassidy has written a letter of apology following a 35-minute attack on a woman in Carlow

The family of a woman who was raped and almost beaten to death by depraved Anthony Cassidy has rejected a handwritten apology from him.

"It means nothing," the daughter of the victim told the Herald.

Cassidy (34) violently attacked the woman during a 35-minute ordeal before leaving her to die in a secluded area of Carlow town.

He is due to be sentenced next month after pleading guilty to rape and serious assault on June 25, 2017.

Critical

His victim, a woman in her 50s, was in intensive care for almost two months after the attack and has been left with life-altering injuries.

Prior to a sentencing hearing last week, a handwritten letter of apology was handed to the victim's family on behalf of Cassidy.

However, this has been rejected by the woman's daughter, who believes Cassidy will continue to pose a serious risk to women when released from prison.

"[An apology] means nothing. We got a handwritten one the day before court. It means nothing.

"He talked about how if he could take back what he did, he wouldn't have done it and how he prays for her from the bottom of his heart. What good is that? 'Sorry mammy, you can't walk again but here's a piece of paper and he's sorry from the bottom of his heart'. It's no good," she told the Herald.

"You don't go and force yourself on a woman. It would have been bad enough if he had just beaten her.

"Sorry would have been to leave her alone and go about your business and pay for your prostitute," the victim's daughter added.

This was in reference to Cassidy's reply while being interviewed by gardai for the first time. "I wouldn't rape a woman, I'd pay for it in a brothel before I'd do that," he told officers.

Cassidy faces a minimum 12 years in prison on direction of the DPP, but his victim's family worries about his release.

"People need to know who he is and what he has done.

"For when he gets out, he'll still be a young man. He could move in next door to a family, and we don't want them going through what we have gone through, what mammy has gone through," her daughter said.

On Friday the Central Criminal Court heard how Cassidy, a father-of-one of Tinryland, Carlow, followed the victim before subjecting her to a violent assault.

CCTV images show him carrying the woman over his shoulders to the scene of the attack, before leaving her to die.

She was not discovered until 12 hours after the rape.

Giving evidence, Garda Sylvia Ryan said that the victim was discovered semi-naked and unconscious with visible injuries and bruising.

She was rushed to St Luke's General Hospital, Kilkenny, and was only discharged on October 24.

Forensic

Gda Ryan said CCTV footage was obtained from 35 different premises around Carlow town, and Cassidy was nominated as a suspect.

A warrant was obtained by officers and Cassidy's caravan at the rear of his mother's home was searched.

A number of items were seized for forensic examination, and the victim's DNA was recovered on a jacket belonging to Cassidy. His semen was found on the victim.

Cassidy has 29 previous convictions in Ireland, and a further five in the UK. The list includes a sexual offence for enlisting the services of a prostitute in April 2017.

He is due to be sentenced by Justice Patrick McCarthy on April 23.

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