Longford victim of sex attack slams attacker's appeal

Ruth Maxwell: ‘I just think it’s an insult and a slap in the face against DNA evidence’

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

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liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Longford victim of sex attack slams attacker's appeal

Longford resident Ruth Maxwell has hit out at her attacker's decision to lodge an appeal against the severity of his sentence

A Co Longford resident who bravely fought off a sex attacker as she made her way to work in Dublin four years ago has branded his decision to appeal an 18 and a half year sentence handed down as a “slap in the face”.

Ruth Maxwell, who lives in Drumlish, was one of three women to be targeted in three separate attacks between 2011 and 2016 by a father of two at locations around Clondalkin in south Dublin.

Ms Maxwell, who fell victim to the last of those attacks, was walking to the Luas to go to work when her assailant accosted her in broad daylight by putting a hunting knife to her throat

The incident took place at Knockmeenagh Lane, Clondalkin, Dublin, not far from where two other women had previously been attacked and near a house occupied by the family of the man’s partner.

The 34-year-old defendant was jailed last week for 18½ years in what Judge Pauline Codd described as primal and brutal, adding “he is clearly a dangerous man”.

A sitting of Dublin’s Court of Appeal has since heard that the father-of-two has lodged an appeal over the severity of the sentence handed down.

Giving her reaction to the news, Ms Maxwell said the appeal was one which she was still struggling to digest.

“I just think it’s an insult and a slap in the face against DNA evidence as DNA evidence should be incontestable,” she said.

Ms Maxwell, herself, was the subject of much praise after deciding to speak publicly about her ordeal on the Late Late Show two years ago.

In the intervening period, the south Dublin native has been steadily getting her life back on track while attempting and ultimately winning a long legal battle with the Department of Justice over the victims rights.

“It changed the course of history in how the State recognises PTST (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and mental trauma in terms of loss of earnings and medical expenses,” she said.

The victim advocacy lobbyist also urged new Minister for Justice Helen McEntee to rubber-stamp a new Parole Bill where criminals convicted for serious offences will have to wait at least 12 years before applying for parole.

As for her own take on her attacker’s decision to lodge an appeal, Ms Maxwell was unequivocal in her response.

“The majority of sex offenders don’t want society thinking they are just that,” she said.

“But this man is a bare faced liar. I ask how he can get four years remission in the face of incontestable DNA evidence.

“If you are convicted on that alone, how can you even think to appeal that?” she asked.