Developer jailed for raping woman

Monday 17 February 2014 22.21
Judge told Thomas Egan he could not 'buy himself out' of a custodial sentence
Judge told Thomas Egan he could not 'buy himself out' of a custodial sentence

A developer who raped a Brazilian woman he had asked to clean his house has been sentenced to seven-and-a-half years, after a judge said he could not "buy himself out" of a custodial sentence.

Father-of-four Thomas Egan, 47, of Cahermurphy, Kilmihil, Co Clare paid over €10,000 in court to be forwarded to his victim, who has since returned to Brazil.

Mr Justice Barry White suspended the final three-and-a-half years of the sentence, noting that Egan had a previous "unblemished record" apart from a minor road traffic offence.

Egan was convicted last May by a jury at the Central Criminal Court of raping the 23-year-old woman at a house in Tipperary on 5 July 2010.

He had denied the charge.

Egan admitted having sex with the woman, but told gardaí it was consensual and that she had not shown any fear.

During the trial, Seán Gillane SC, prosecuting, said Egan had approached the victim on a street in Gort, Co Galway and asked her to clean a house.

They travelled to the house in Tipperary in his car and he set out a number of cleaning tasks for her.

Upstairs in the house, Egan started to kiss her and touch her body. He tried to take her clothes off and then took her hand and placed it on his penis.

"She knew at that stage he wanted sex. She was afraid if she said 'No' to him it would make matters worse," said Mr Gillane.

He then raped her.

Afterwards the woman put on her clothes and asked him to drive her home. The following day, she made a complaint about the incident.

The court heard that she returned to Brazil a short time later.

Detective Garda Colette Acton told the court that during garda interviews, Egan maintained there had been consensual sex.

Defence Counsel Brendan Grehan SC put it to the garda that the woman did not put up any resistance, to which the garda replied, "she was afraid".

Conor McKenna BL, also acting for the defence, said Egan had made an unconditional offer of €10,000 to "ease the victim's financial woes".

He said Egan had been unable to transfer the money to the victim until now because of difficulties with IBAN numbers and international transfers to Brazil.

He also said Egan was prepared to offer a further sum to the victim of €5,000 a year for three years, with the first payment to take place in December.

However, the court heard Egan would not be able to follow through on this additional offer if his circumstances were "radically altered" by his being imprisoned.

Mr McKenna said Egan was held in high esteem and was a hard-working man who has provided for his family.

He said that Egan had used no "gratuitous violence" or threats of any kind towards his victim, "not even a raised voice".

Mr Justice White said that on reading the victim impact report provided by the victim, he did not believe the rape had "a profound psychological effect" on her.

"It strikes me that your victim is more interested in compensation rather than anything else," he said.

He sentenced Egan to seven-and-a-half years in prison with the final three-and-a-half years suspended.

The judge directed that €50 given by Egan to the woman at the time of the offence be sent to the St Vincent de Paul.