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Last Updated: Friday, 22 September 2006, 16:43 GMT 17:43 UK
Rape victim 'disgusted at sentence'
Generic picture of rape
A woman who was repeatedly raped by a 15-year-old youth has said she is disgusted that his five-year sentence has only been extended by two years.

The youth, who is too young to be named, broke into her north Belfast home along with a friend in March 2004.

The 15-year-old held the woman, who wants only to be known as Sinead, captive and repeatedly raped her and beat her with a hammer.

He was originally jailed for five years in 2005, but the Attorney General referred the case to the Court of Appeal because he considered the sentence was unduly lenient.

On Friday, the court extended his jail term by two years.

However, Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian Kerr, who heard the case, said a sentence of at least 15 years would have been justified had the teenager not pleaded guilty to the nine charges against them.

Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster's William Crawley , Sinead said, that in her opinion, the fact the youth admitted to raping her did not justify such a lenient jail term.

"I am disgusted at the sentencing," said Sinead who was 36 at the time of her ordeal.

"The solicitors and barristers were at great pains to stress he was a child and that he should be treated as a child, but he was not a child when he broke into my house, woke me from my sleep and raped and indecently assaulted me and left me for dead."

Sinead said her ordeal began a couple of hours after she had went to bed after having a night out with friends.

Screwdriver

"At roughly 3 o'clock in the morning, I was awoken with my bedroom light on and what I now know to be a 15-year-old youth standing over me telling me to get f****** up out of the bed," she said.

"I hoped I was in the middle of a nightmare, but quickly realised there was somebody in my bedroom.

"I felt severe pain in my neck and realised he was holding a screwdriver. I sat up in bed and he continued to stab me with the screwdriver.

I genuinely believed that I would never see my family again

"Over the next hour I was raped three times and I was indecently assaulted twice.

"I was repeatedly beaten with a hammer to the side of the head. I had a lot of injuries, it was a surprise that after being hit with a hammer I actually survived.

"I genuinely believed that I would never see my family again."

Sinead said she was convinced the two youths intended to kill her.

She said: "I was screamed at for the guts of an hour 'we are f****** going to kill you'.

"'Nobody knows we are here, we can stay as long as we like', which I knew was correct, they could have stayed as long as they liked."

"There was such viciousness used in the assault, I have no doubt they were leaving me for dead."

"I could hear the second accused saying 'she is f****** dead mate, we have killed her' and at that stage I realised how seriously injured I was.

"I raised my head ever so slightly and could just see the 15-year-old coming around the bed and as I lifted my head he lifted the hammer and hit me one more time.

"I didn't know if they had gone at that stage, but I did realise that if I didn't get up there and then I wouldn't be getting up again."

Once her attackers left, Sinead was able to alert the emergency services and was taken to hospital.

She had a fractured skull and needed six staples to her head. She also had numerous bruises and stab wounds over her body.

"I was told at the hospital that I really should have died with the second blow the head," she said.

In a cruel twist of fate, Sinead was to see the youth who attacked her in the admissions area of the hospital on the same night she was attacked.

At that time she was unsure if it was actually him, however, police who examined CCTV records were later able to confirm her suspicions.

Sinead's attacker is expected to be released from prison after having served about half of his sentence.

He has also been placed on the sex offenders' register for life.

Reduced sentence

Malcolm Fowler from the Law Society said the courts offered defendants a reduced sentence in return for a guilty plea in order to ensure victims did not have to relive their ordeal in court.

"If (the youth) knew pleading guilty or not guilty made no difference to the outcome then he might just as well have his day in court at Sinead's expense.

"He will be on the sex offenders' register for life. He will be dogged through every move he makes in life, there will be a possess of people, trying to ensure what happened to Sinead won't happen again."






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