'It's your birthday surprise' - Men told woman before gang rape in Dublin

Darren Thompson
Darren Thompson

A man convicted of taking part in the gang rape of a woman he met at a nightclub has been jailed for four years.

Darren Thompson (23) and two other men raped the woman after she came back to a house with them, telling her "It's your birthday surprise".

Thompson of Belcare Park, Ballymun, Dublin pleaded not guilty to rape at a house in Dublin on a date in May, 2014. He was convicted by a jury last month after a trial at the Central Criminal Court.

The woman, who is in her 20s, was celebrating her birthday in a nightclub with two friends. She had taken cocaine, alcohol and ecstasy in the club when she met a man there.

They kissed and she agreed to go to a house with him. She got a taxi with the man and two men, including Thompson, and they went back to the house of one of those men.

She had consensual sex with the first man in a bedroom of that house but then two men, including Thompson, appeared in the room and began trying to have sex with her.

She told them to stop but she felt someone inside her while another man had his hands on her breasts. This happened three times.

"I asked them to stop and I got told it was my birthday surprise," she said.

The other men who were present on the night were arrested the next day and questioned by gardai but nobody else was charged. Thompson admitted having sex but told gardai the woman had consented to him "joining in".

In a victim impact statement the woman said that the attack left her emotionally scared, saying: "This is something I will never ever get out of my head."

Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy said that the rape was not premeditated and this lessened the moral culpability to a degree. She said that Thompson, who has no previous convictions, acted out of character on the night.

She said the aggravating factors were the fact that there were multiple participants and the advantage Thompson took of the victim's vulnerability.

She said the appropriate headline sentence was eight years but taking the mitigating factors into consideration she reduced that that to six years.

She suspended the last two years to allow for the "very realistic prospect" of rehabilitation. She also ordered Thompson to have no contact with the victim in perpetuity.

Ms Justice Kennedy had noted the defence submissions that Thompson was previously a "peaceful, law-abiding, diligent young man" who came from a decent hard-working family.

Conor Devally SC, defending, had also asked the court to consider the delay in the prosecution of the case, during which Thompson had "proceeded positively with his life".

The court also heard that his admissions to gardai about having sex with the complainant were significant, as there was no DNA or other scientific support for that allegation.

Thompson told gardai that when the woman came back to the house, there was a conversation about a "threesome". He said she told him it was OK for him to "join in".

Mr Devally said his client's family and current girlfriend have remained supportive. He has acted in loco parentis for his partner's children.

"This was something of an appalling aberration," counsel said, adding that Thompson has an impressive work history and was not someone who abuses alcohol, drugs or people.

The woman took the stand and described meeting a man and kissing him on the dance floor. She gave him a condom at one point and agreed to go back to a house with him.

She told the jury that she had drunk several alcoholic drinks that night, as well as taking cocaine and one ecstasy tablet.

She said she took off her shoes in the house and had a drink before going upstairs with the man she had met in the club.

She said they went to go into one bedroom but one of the men came out and said "no not that one". They instead went into another bedroom that the woman said was "really dark".

She and the man then began kissing and started having sex. While they were having sex, the woman said she suddenly "felt a skinnier frame going between my legs".

"I tried to sit up and I said, 'I didn't know there was two of yous'," the woman told the court. She said she told the men to "fuck off". "Then I froze," she said.

She told the court that a third figure then appeared from underneath the duvet and tried to put his penis in her mouth but she turned her face away.

"I asked them to stop," she said. "I was froze. I was scared."

When asked by prosecuting counsel what each of the men had done to her, the woman replied: "They had sex with me".

"I asked them to stop and I got told it was my birthday surprise," she said.

The woman said she left the room and went to the bathroom, where the man she had met in the club followed her and asked if she was OK. She then went downstairs, where another of the men let her out the back door.

She said from there, she rang her friend and told her what happened, before leaving the premises by a side exit and calling 999. Her shoes were later discovered in the house.

Mr Devally put it to the woman that the man she was consensually having sex with said to her, "Is it OK if he has a go?", with regards to the accused man.

He said the accused man then asked, "Is it OK?", and that the woman said "yeah" before he also had sex with her. The woman rejected this.

Declan Brennan