A Limerick man has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for his part in the gang rape of a woman in a Co Clare wood last year.

25-year-old Stephen Barry of Roxboro Road had pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to raping and assaulting the woman and assaulting and falsely imprisoning a male companion at Cratloe Woods in January 2004.

The court heard how the couple were beaten in the early hours of the morning and the man was locked in the boot of his car while the accused and at least three juveniles took turns raping her.

The man eventually managed to fight off the gang and summon help from a passing motorist.

Mr Justice Paul Carney said he had imposed jail terms of between four and nine years on the juveniles but he said this accused was an adult with 36 previous convictions who had not tried to stop what was going on.

He imposed concurrent sentences totalling 21 years with the final year suspended because of the defendant’s guilty plea.