Donegal man denies rape and false imprisonment but admits altering former partner’s Facebook status

Central Criminal Court

A Donegal man who logged into his ex-girlfriend’s Facebook page and posted an insulting status has gone on trial for falsely imprisoning and raping her.

The man, who cannot be named, has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the false imprisonment and rape of his ex-girlfriend at her home in the early hours of April 6, 2011.

But he has pleaded GUILTY to criminal damage by altering her Facebook settings on the same date.

Sean Gillane SC, prosecuting, gave the jury a “health warning” in his opening address that just because the accused has pleaded guilty to one charge does not mean he is guilty of everything else.

The complainant said she had been in a relationship with the man until January 2011. She told Mr Gillane that she started seeing another man but remained in contact with the accused as a friend.

She said she had been in her sitting room with her new partner on April 5, when car headlights beamed off the window blinds. She missed a call from the accused and then heard thumping at the door.

The woman said when she opened the door the accused walked past her into the sitting room. She agreed to speak to him privately and her new partner left the house.

She said as she was speaking to the accused he left the sitting room and she heard the key turn in the front door. She said she realised the man had her phone and she was locked into the house with him.

She said she initially refused his sexual advances, but began to feel weak after he threatened her.

The woman said the man raped her in her bedroom. She said he told her to stop crying or he wouldn’t be able to ejaculate.

She said afterwards she thought the man had left her house, but found him in the sitting room. He grabbed her throat and threatened to harm her boyfriend, before leaving the house with her phone.

The woman said she decided to leave and as she drove down the road, the accused followed in his vehicle.

She said she drove to a friend’s house when the man stopped following her and later realised that he had posted a status purporting to be her on her Facebook page.

The woman denied a suggestion by Isobel Kennedy SC, defending, that she and the accused had engaged in consensual sex.

Ms Kennedy showed the complainant a letter she had written to the accused man in March 2011, which gardaí found in her bedroom. Ms Kennedy pointed out that the letter detailed how she loved the accused.

The complainant disagreed this was indicative of her being in a loving relationship with the man. She said she couldn’t remember writing it, but accepted she must have felt that way at the time.

She agreed with Mr Gillane in re-examination that she had never sent the letter found in her bedroom.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and a jury.