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Rape victim ‘upset and appalled’ after local businessmen gave ‘glowing’ character references

Conor Quaid

Conor Quaid

Robin Schiller

A RAPE victim has said she is "upset and appalled" after local businessmen gave "glowing" character references in support of her attacker after he was convicted.

Last month Conor Quaid (26) was jailed for six-and-a-half years for the rape of the woman in Kerry three years ago.

He had denied the allegations but was found guilty following a jury trial.

During the sentencing hearing his defence counsel submitted testimonials to the court in favour of his client.

In a statement to RTÉ Radio 1's Liveline programme today the woman said she was "upset and appalled" that local businessmen had supported her rapist.

The woman said Quaid had expressed no remorse and she said it has been difficult for her to come forward in such a small town.

She added it has been a "very tough few years" since the rape was first reported.

Her family said they expected a victim impact statement to be read out in court for the sentencing hearing, and references from the prison service.

The complainant said she was "very upset and appalled" to hear that two prominent businessmen from the town had lodged "glowing references to reduce the sentence of a convicted rapist that shows no remorse".

This included a local publican who described McQuaid as "the best employee ever."

The woman said she gets panic attacks knowing that people who live so close to her had publicly supported a rapist.

"I believe in this day and age the local big boys club should not be allowed lodge testimonials in court," she added.

Last month Quaid was given a prison sentence of eight years with 18 months suspended for raping a young woman as she slept in her own bedroom.

The Central Criminal Court heard Quaid was in the victim's home on the night as he was a trusted family friend.

Ms Justice Mary Rose Gearty said he abused this trust and noted he has not shown any remorse since.

Quaid, of Monaree, Dingle, Co Kerry had pleaded not guilty to rape at a place in the county on June 10, 2018.

After a seven-day trial a jury at the Central Criminal Court found him guilty by a majority verdict of ten to one.

The court heard Quaid had travelled to the home of the victim after a night out drinking in a nearby town. The woman had stayed in that night, wasn't drinking and had gone to bed early.

Quaid went to her bedroom and raped her while she was “curled up” asleep, Ms Justice Gearty said.

Michael Bowman SC, defending, said his client has a medical history of alcohol dependency and that since this offence he has made efforts to address this.

He said his client's father was a retired garda and his family would be well regarded and well thought of.

He handed in a number of testimonials, which he said were evidence that his client is a hard-working, honest man for whom this offence was out of character.

Ms Justice Mary Rose Gearty said the victim had a right to security in her own home and that Quaid violated the sanctity of the woman's home.

The judge said the reason he was there and knew where the victim slept was down to his position as a family friend and she said he had abused this trust.

She imposed a sentence of eight years and said the court had little scope to reduce this because of the absence of a guilty plea or of remorse.

The judge did suspend 18 months on condition he be of good behaviour for three years after his release and stay away from the victim in perpetuity.

Ms Justice Gearty said she was taking into consideration Quaid's relative youth, his lack of previous offending, and the fact that he has struggled and overcome an alcohol addiction.

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