AN IVORIAN national who raped and threatened his former partner at an apartment in Limerick has been has been sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.
The 27-year-old who cannot be named to protect the victim’s anonymity, had pleaded not (NOT) guilty to rape and oral rape of the woman at his then home on July 8, 2013. He was convicted by a jury after a trial at the Central Criminal Court.
In a victim impact report the woman said she was frightened to death during the attack and thought she was going to die.
Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy noted she had shown great charity to the accused and assisted him in settling into the country. He said the man had shown no remorse at this juncture.
The judge imposed a six year sentence, taking into account that the man was a foreign national.
The mother of two had met the accused, who is originally from the Ivory Coast, in early 2013 and they became friends. They began dating but his level of drinking became a concern for her and she ended the relationship.
They stayed in contact and after he moved into a new house he texted her saying he had no food in the house and was unable to fend for himself.
As a sign of friendship she helped him buy food and went back to his flat to cook for him. He didn’t know how to turn on the gas and he began screaming.
The court heard when the woman went to leave he asked her where she was going telling her: “Today you will know me, you don’t respect, you will know me today”.
He threw her on a chair and turned on loud music. He then slapped her and told her: “Today you die”.
The man then picked up a blunt chopping knife from the kitchen and stood over her waving the knife in her face. He told her to take her clothes off and started to pull them off her.
The court heard the woman thought was she going to die at this point and told him she would do whatever he wanted.
He pulled her hair and pushed her into a bedroom and slapped her face. She was crying and he raped her, telling her: “You are my property. You can’t go with another man. I will kill you”.
He told her to clean herself and then raped her again. The woman kept asking him to stop. After the ordeal was over the woman asked him: “Why did you do this to me?”.
After his arrest the man claimed the sex had been consensual and that they were still in a relationship. Other witnesses confirmed to gardai that the relationship was over.
The court heard the man had left the Ivory Coast because he had been shot there as part of a civil war.
Previously, Limerick District Court was told gardai were unable to locate the man after directions were received from the DPP. However, he was arrested at Dublin
Airport in June 2014 as he was about to board a flight to Morocco.
In her victim impact statement, the woman said she suffered nightmares every night and she knew she would have to live with the damage caused by the rape for the rest of her life.
She said it was “unbearable and unbelievable” that someone she trusted did this to her. She said he had shown no remorse for the “evil things” he had done to her and said she prayed he asked God for forgiveness.
“The impact has been devastating and far reaching. He will be free some day but I will never be free,” she said. The court heard the man continued to deny that he raped the woman.