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Guilty plea Jail sentence for Galway man who attempted to rape child in his mother's care

Mr Justice White imposed a sentence of three and a half years and ordered two and half years post release supervision


Charlie Maughan jailed for dangerous driving

Charlie Maughan jailed for dangerous driving

Charlie Maughan jailed for dangerous driving

A Galway man who attempted to rape a child that was in his mother's care has been jailed for three and a half years.

The 24-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the anonymity of the child victim, took the then seven-year-old girl by the hand and brought her away from where she was playing with his younger sisters and to a bedroom.

When another child raised the alarm the man's mother, who was minding the child while her parents were in work, ran into the bedroom. She found the child standing in front of the man who had his penis out.

The man later admitted to gardaí that his intention was to rape the child and said he probably would have done it if his mother had not walked in on him.

He said he was not in his right mind. The court heard details of a psychological report which outlined the accused man was severely mentally ill at the time and suffering psychotic symptoms.

The man pleaded guilty before the Central Criminal Court to attempted rape at his address in Co Galway on July 23, 2019. He has a number of previous convictions including possession of drugs for sale or supply, theft and criminal damage.

He has been in custody since the date of his arrest in October 2019, the detective sergeant in charge of the case told the court.

This witness agreed with defence counsel Giollaiosa Ó Lideadha SC that nothing the victim told gardaí would have “brought home” the charge of attempted rape and that the charge stemmed from admissions made by the defendant about his intentions.

He accepted that the defendant told gardaí that he was not in his right mind when he committed the offence and that the man's parents had attempted to have him admitted to hospital weeks before the offence because he was displaying psychotic behaviour.

Mr Ó Lideadha said this was a single incident in which there were not multiple complainants or offences and it did not occur over a long period of time. He said his client was not “explicitly in a position of trust”.

Counsel said the details of the offence were consistent with it being “an aberration in the context of a psychotic episode”. He said this was “a truly exceptional event in truly exceptional circumstances”.

In sentencing on Friday Justice Michael White paid tribute to the injured party and noted the effect of the trauma on the child.

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Mr Justice White said the aggravating features of the case included the age of the injured party, the age gap between the two and the accused man's previous convictions.

He set a headline sentence of seven years before noting in mitigation the man's guilty plea and serious psychiatric condition at the time of the offence. He referred to a psychological report which outlined the author was satisfied that the accused man was psychotic at the time of the offence.

The judge noted the man's parents had given details of bizarre behaviour around the time of the offence supporting the proposition that he was experiencing psychotic symptoms.

He also noted in mitigation the man's genuine remorse and co-operation with the investigation. He said it was accepted that the actual offence could not have been proven without the man's admissions to gardaí.

Mr Justice White imposed a sentence of three and a half years and ordered two and half years post release supervision. He noted the accused would need close supervision on his release and warned him that any lack of cooperation with post release supervision was a separate offence.

The parents of the victim said their child now has difficulties socialising, is afraid of the dark and is unable to sleep on her own. They said she suffers periodic panic attacks and constant nightmares.

In their victim impact statement, which was read out before the court by prosecuting counsel, the parents said their child had “always been a happy and fearless child” prior to the offence.

“The crime committed against our daughter will haunt us forever,” they said.

They said they have experienced feelings of guilt for leaving the child on the day. They said that no child should ever have to experience what their child went through.

The court heard that the child was playing with two other children in the house when the defendant took her by the hand and brought her to a bedroom. One of these other children immediately told her mother what happened and her mother ran upstairs to the bedroom.

When she opened the door she saw her son holding his penis and the girl standing at the foot of the bed. The woman slapped her son, took the child into her arms and brought her out of the bedroom before calling gardaí and an ambulance.

She also called a psychiatric nurse who had been in the house earlier to visit the accused man. He was later admitted to the mental health unit of a Galway hospital and was subsequently arrested on the day of his release.

The child disclosed that the man had pulled her into the room and placed her lying face down on the bed. She said the man touched her on “her privates that only girls have”.

In interview with gardaí, the man said he had gotten an urge to go upstairs and “do what I done”. He said he pulled down the child's bottoms and his own and that his penis was erect.

The man said his intention was to insert his penis into the girl's vagina and he probably would have done it if his mother had not walked in.

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