Letterkenny man sentenced to 20 years for Derry rape

Derry Courthouse

A Letterkenny man has been sentenced to a 20 year extended prison sentence for the rape of a young woman in his apartment in Derry in 2019 in what a judge described as 'sadly one of the worst cases to come before this court.'

28 year old Shaun Hegarty of Balliniska Heights, Derry was found guilty of raping, choking and assaulting the woman between April 6 and 7th after a nine day trial last year.

Judge Philip Babington said when observed leaving Hegarty's apartment for the final time, 'one could see her face was different' with what looked like marks on her face.

The victim was later found lying on a banking on the Northland Road with blood on her.

She was taken to hospital where she was found to have 'a traumatic brain injury' as well as various other injuries.

A doctor who examined her concluded she had been the victim of 'a very aggressive sexual and physical assault.'

The defendant made the case to police and during the trial that the sexual activity was consensual.

The 29 year old had a previous conviction for rape that occurred in February 2010 and had been sentenced to 7 years for the offence.

He had been assessed as dangerous.

The judge said Hegarty had been recalled to prison twice during his licence period and had breached his Sexual Offences Prevention Order by not disclosing his rape conviction to his victim.

Hegarty was sentenced to 20 years in prison with an extended sentence and will be subject to a SOPO and to sign the Sex Offenders' Register for an indefinite period.

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A man who was born in Letterkenny and had lived in the North West all his life has been sentenced to a 20 year extended prison sentence for the rape of a young woman in his apartment in Derry in 2019 in what a judge described as 'sadly one of the worst cases to come before this court.'
Shaun Hegarty (29) of Balliniska Heights in Derry was found guilty of raping, choking and assaulting the woman between April 6 and 7 2019 after a nine day trial last year.
Passing sentence Judge Philip Babington the victim had met the defendant on St Patrick's Day and they had kept in touch.
On the day in question she arranged to meet with Hegarty and she could be seen entering his apartment on CCTV.
The judge said the night 'started well' and they could be seen leaving to get alcohol and then returning before being observed later leaving.
The judge said when she left for the final time 'one could see her face was different' with what looked like marks on her face.
She told police that after having a few drinks she went to the toilet and could remember 'very little' apart from waking up on a mattress on a concrete floor.
The woman told the court she could remember a rope around her neck and marks were found there.
The woman was seen on CCTV leaving the apartment and it looked like she needed assistance to do so.
The victim was found lying on a banking on the Northland Road with blood on her and blood between her legs.
During the trial the court heard she was described as being in 'a terrible state'.
When she was taken to hospital she was found to have 'a traumatic brain injury' as well as various other injuries and spent a week in hospital.
A doctor who examined her concluded she had been the victim of 'a very aggressive sexual and physical assault.'
Police went to Hegarty's apartment and initially he didn't answer but as police prepared to break down the door he opened it.
He was wearing underwear and had just had a shower or bath.
Judge Babington said that there were signs of a clean up but traces of blood were found in the apartment.
The defendant made the case to police and during the trial that the sexual activity was concensual and 'she left when she left.'
Under cross examination he said 'I did not inflict any injury she did not want.'
Judge Babington said Hegarty had a previous conviction for rape that occurred in February 2010 and had been sentenced to 7 years for that.
The defendant had been assessed as dangerous and Judge Babington said he concurred with this assessment.
He said Hegarty had been recalled to prison twice during his licence period and had breached his Sexual Offences Prevention Order by not disclosing his rape conviction to his victim.
The judge said Hegarty did not accept responsibility for his actions and as a result the victim had had to undergo cross examination which while proper had been intrusive.
He said if Hegarty maintained everything had been consensual he didn't even have 'the human decency' to ensure the woman was capable of getting home safely when she left his flat.
Describing the situation as 'very serious offending' he said Hegarty was not entitled to any credit as he had not accepted any responsibility.
Hegarty was sentenced to 20 years in prison with an extended sentence which means that after completing half his sentence he will not be released until the parole commissioners decide.
He will also be subject to a SOPO and have to sign the Sex Offender's Register for an indefinite period.