A Carlow teenager has been jailed for five years for the rape of a 14-year-old girl in a field in the middle of his local town.

The 18-year-old pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to raping the girl on 28 March, 2011.

The court heard that the teenagers had arranged to meet up that day having exchanged a number of text messages, but the girl had told him she did not want to have sex with him.

They went into the field together and began kissing, which the girl consented to, before he raped her.

She had tried to push him away throughout the incident, but said she could not speak because he had continued to kiss her.

The girl cried afterwards and the teenager hugged and kissed her before walking away.

Mr Justice Paul Carney imposed an eight-year term, but suspended the final three years on condition he stays away from his victim.

He also imposed 18 months of post-release supervision. The accused was registered as a sex offender on a previous date.

The judge noted the difference in age between the parties and the fact that the accused took the girl's virginity.

The now 16-year-old's victim impact report was read into court.

It read that sometimes she felt like she was going mad and that her "head was going to explode" with all the feelings she had "jumbling around in it".

She said she feels nervous, ashamed, hurt and terrified and would often still see her attacker around her home town.

The victim and her family have since moved house and she has changed school. "I knew nobody. It felt like I was starting primary school again," she said.

She said the sight of her body makes her shiver and she hates getting out of the shower.

"Sometimes I feel very alone and that the world is moving on without me. He made me feel like less of a person. I can't do anything without hearing his voice. I hate saying his name," the teenager's report continued.

Garda Conor Nolan told Colman Cody BL, prosecuting, that the incident was reported to gardaí after the girl became distressed in school the day after the attack and confided in a friend.

A teacher was notified and her mother was contacted. It was the girl's doctor who advised that they should report the incident to the gardaí.

Garda Nolan said the victim told gardaí that she had never had sex before and did not want to have sex.

She said she told the teenager that she was not interested in having sex with him before she agreed to meet up.

The teenager was arrested the following month. He denied that he had any contact at all with the victim.

He also denied that it had been a pre-arranged meeting, but accepted that he knew her as an acquaintance having previously met her at the local youth club disco.

He was later charged following forensic analysis of both his and the victim's mobile. He replied after caution: "It was not rape. It was consensual."

Garda Nolan agreed with Mr Cody that the teenagers had not been in a relationship prior to the rape and although they knew each other from the local area, this was their first proper meeting.

Garda Nolan agreed with Mary Rose Gearty SC, defending, that her client had written a letter of apology to the victim for the court hearing but said he had not "expressed remorse" until now.

He accepted that he had a difficult background, but said he was not aware that the teenager's father had been a violent alcoholic.

Ms Gearty described it as a "very sad case" particularly for the young victim, but asked the court to take into account her client's guilty plea and late expression of remorse.

"He was 16. He did the wrong thing, he did not admit it but he has changed his view as the months and years progressed and has now taken full responsibility and came in today with a hand-written letter," Ms Gearty said.