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‘I felt a little paralysed,’ says woman who alleges rape and sexual assault by five men



A young woman has described how she was sexually assaulted and raped by five men after she got into their car at the end of a night socialising with friends in the midlands.

She described feeling paralysed, her body and mind going into autopilot, as the man put their hands up her skirt and onto her breasts and eventually forced her into having sex with them.

She told the Central Criminal Court that getting into the men’s car on the night of December 27th 2016 was “a very stupid, snap decision”.

The woman was aged 17 when the alleged assaults and rapes took place at a number of locations in the midlands. The first defendant was aged 17 at the time, with the other four men, three of whom are also on trial, were aged 18 and 19.

The four men have pleaded not guilty to total of 18 counts of sexual assault, rape and false imprisonment. Both the woman and the defendants are entitled to anonymity under the 1981 Rape Act.

On the third day of the trial, the complainant described having a social night out with male and female friends in a midlands town on St Stephen’s Day before going to different fast food outlets in the early hours of the December 27th after the bars and a disco closed.

She said she went to a taxi company and ordered one, but after waiting for 20 to 30 minutes, she decided to walk back to a friend’s house.

“I definitely had a few drinks but I had my wits about me,” she told Lorcan Staines SC, prosecuting. “Ultimately, I was grand.”

‘A stupid thing’

As she walked from the taxi office, she said a car pulled up about a car’s length ahead of her and someone called out her name from inside the car.

“I actually got into the car,” she said. “A stupid thing.”

The woman described how there were two males in the front of the car, a passenger and a driver, and three males in the back. She got into the back by lying across the three, at the suggestion of the occupants who said there were guards about and the car was packed.

Near a roundabout and as the car was moving along the road, the male sitting behind the front seat passenger started putting his hands up her skirt and sexually assaulting her.

“I almost got a reality shock and started getting upset,” the woman said in evidence. “I had tears in my eyes. I was saying ‘what are you doing’?”

She tried to push his hands away. The front seat passenger asked if she wanted to get into the front. The woman did and eased her way forward between the front seats because, she said, she wanted to get away from what was happening to her in the back seat.

However, the man in the front seat, on whose lap she was sitting, started touching her sexually, as did a male in the rear, by putting his arms over the seat and down onto her.

They spoke to each other “as if I wasn’t there”, said the woman.

She said one of the men announced: “We’re getting it all tonight.”

She said there were a lot of hands reaching out and grabbing her and she told them to stop but they did not.

‘Paralysed’

She described being taken to a remote area where she was raped by each of the men in turn. Afterwards, the car was driven back to the midlands town with two of the men being dropped off en route.

The car drove to a car park in a midlands town, where she was again sexually abused by two of the remaining men. She said one man raped her and another orally raped her.

At one stage, some of the men appeared to be filming her on mobile phones as one of them raped her.

“I felt a little paralysed,” she said in evidence. “I felt really shocked. I felt a little bit inanimate, if that makes sense.”

She described repeatedly telling the men to stop what they were doing. At one stage, three demanded she engage in sexual activity with them simultaneously.

“I said no, I just want to go home,” she said in evidence.

Eventually, they let her out of the car at a car park in a midlands town and she ran to the house of a friend whom she had messaged with a phone given to her by the driver of the car.

She said she was hysterical and with her clothes half off her, calling out her friend’s name. When she got to the house, the gardai were called.

Brendan Grehan, SC, defending the driver who was 17 at the time, told the woman that his client asserts that that what happened was consensual. Mr Grehan asked the woman why she had not tried to escape from the car.

“I didn’t know what would happen if I started demanding to get out of the car,” she said. “There was one of me and five of them. It is very intimidating.”

The trial continues on Friday before Justice Tara Burns and a jury.



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