Central Criminal Court
A County Louth man who showed up at a nearby garda station to alert officers to the fact that he had just tried to rape a young woman has been jailed for three years.
Oliver Kane (41), who was homeless at the time, told gardaí that when he saw the woman walking by he decided “I am going to run towards her and get as close as I can”. He said his intentions were to get her into a side area but she fought him off and managed to get away.
“God knows what would have happened,” Kane told gardaí before he admitted he was going to rape her.
Garda Roisin O’Donnell agreed that Kane said in subsequent interviews with gardaí “if you were homeless and wanted a shag, you wouldn’t care where it came from”.
Kane pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to attempted rape of the now 21-year-old in Ardee, County Louth on November 16, 2020. He has one previous conviction for a public order offence.
Mr Justice Paul Coffey sentenced Kane to four years with the final year suspended on strict conditions including that he engages with his local mental health service for three years upon his release from prison.
He also registered him as a sex offender and imposed a three-year post-release supervision order during which time Kane must engage with the Probation Service.
Mr Justice Coffey said Kane intended to abuse his natural physical strength to degrade the victim. He said Kane had embarked upon the crime “opportunistically” in “shocking circumstances” during which the woman was “attacked from behind while walking home late at night.”
The judge noted that the woman has “had to endure the continual ill effects of the crime” in that she suffers from severe depression, sleepless nights and “never feels safe”.
Mr Justice Coffey acknowledged that Kane was “instantly overcome with remorse” and admitted his crime to the gardaí. He said coupled with his plea of guilty, this admission has been of “very considerable value to the prosecution”.
Finally, the judge noted that Kane has only one previous conviction for a minor public order offence, was from a decent law-abiding family, was homeless at the time of the attempted rape and has a minor intellectual disability.
Carl Hanahoe BL, prosecuting, told the court at an earlier hearing that although the complainant does not wish to waive her right to anonymity, she is satisfied that reporting the name of her attacker and the location of the incident would not identify her.
She stated in a victim impact statement, read to the court by Garda O’Donnell, that Kane’s attack changed her life.
“He attempted to rape me and violate me. I was strong enough to escape but it has still affected my mental health,” the woman said.
She described how she suffered from constant nightmares and struggled to sleep. She took two weeks off work. She has started counselling since last Christmas after initially thinking “I could do this my own” and has since been treated for depression.
The woman said the worst part of the whole ordeal was seeing her mother upset and she added that she is now more careful.
“No human being should be violated and taken advantage of and never feel unsafe,” the woman concluded.
Michael Bowman SC, defending said that his client is aware of “the behaviour that brought him here and the distress that he has brought on the complainant”.
He said Kane was sleeping rough at the time in both Drogheda and Dundalk but had come to Ardee that night to look for help.
Counsel said his client was being treated for both depression and psychosis at the time but had not taken his medication for the two weeks prior to the attack.
Kane interrupted Bowman’s address to the court and shouted “nothing excuses what I have done” before counsel continued and added that Kane “does not seek to hide behind any of his difficulties”.
Garda O’Donnell told Mr Hanahoe that the victim had left a friend's house around 1am that morning and was walking home to her father’s when she heard a noise and became aware that there was a man behind her. She had been listening to music and had headphones in.
Kane asked her for a lighter. She told him she didn’t have one but he continued to ask for one and walked after her.
He suddenly grabbed her from behind and put his hand over her mouth. The woman attempted to get away and struggled with Kane.
She later told gardaí that she believed he was trying to get her to the entrance of a nearby housing estate where there is a green area behind a small wall.
The woman eventually managed to break free although Kane tried to grab her a second time. She ran away and shouted to him that she was calling the gardaí. Kane fled the scene and the woman immediately called the gardaí.
Garda O’Donnell told Mr Hanahoe that she was just about to leave the station to respond to the woman’s call when Kane arrived at the station and admitted he had just tried to rape a woman.
She agreed with Mr Bowman that his client has considerable mental health issues and his behaviour on the night was “bizarre”.
She acknowledged that he was crying when he first arrived at the station and was still quite upset during his later garda interviews.
Garda O’Donnell agreed that Kane “expressed regret for what had taken place” and understood that he had hurt the woman.
She accepted that he was from a decent law-abiding family and at the time was “in desperate need of help and accommodation”.
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