Four young men have been convicted at the Central Criminal Court of a range of sexual offences against a 17-year-old girl in the midlands in December 2016. A fifth man had earlier pleaded guilty to rape.

The trial judge paid tribute to the "very, very brave young woman" who gave evidence during the trial of the four men.

The four men were all found guilty of sexual assaulting the girl in the early hours of 27 December 2016.

The incidents happened near Kilbeggan in Co Westmeath and near Tullamore in Co Offaly.

Three of the men were found guilty of raping her. Two were convicted of falsely imprisoning her in a car.

Marcus De Silva Umbelino

22-year-old Marcus De Silva Umbelino from Block C Riverview, Kilbeggan, Co Westmeath, was convicted of raping and sexually assaulting the girl. He was found not guilty of falsely imprisoning her.

24-year-old Eduardo Dias Ferreiera Filho from Block D Riverview, Kilbeggan, Co Westmeath, was convicted of oral rape, and of sexually assaulting and falsely imprisoning the girl.

Eduardo Dias Ferreiera Filho
Gabriel Gomes Da Rocha

24-year-old Gabriel Gomes Da Rocha from Mount Armstrong, Rahan, Tullamore, Co Offaly, was convicted of raping her at two different locations as well as sexually assaulting her and falsely imprisoning her.

23-year-old Ethan Nikolaou from Brosna Park, Kilbeggan, Co Westmeath, was convicted of two counts of sexual assault.

Ethan Nikolaou

24-year-old Conor Byrne of Ballybeg, Moate, Co Westmeath, pleaded guilty at an earlier date to a charge of rape.

The men were remanded in custody and will be sentenced at the end of next month when the victim impact evidence will also be heard.

Ms Justice Tara Burns told the victim she was a "very, very brave young woman".

The judge said she was "beyond impressed" with how she had conducted herself with "absolute dignity" during the trial. She said she hoped this portion of her life could now be put behind her.

The judge exempted the jurors from further jury service for the rest of their lives.

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She said this was not something she usually did but she was doing it in this case because of the "horrendous" and "harrowing" evidence they had to listen to.

The jury found each accused not guilty on some counts. They took just under nine hours to reach unanimous verdicts.

The girl, who is now in her early 20s, had tears in her eyes as the verdicts were announced.

The families of the young men sobbed, held their hands and hugged them. There was loud sobbing as the men were led away after being remanded in custody.

The court heard the wife of one of the men is pregnant and due to give birth soon.

Warning: This article contains graphic details

Court told girl driven to remote location

The jury began deliberating last Monday after a three-week trial during which the prosecution said a 17-year-old girl had been driven to a remote location near Kilbeggan, in the early hours of 27 December where she was assaulted and raped.

The young woman told the court she had been out with friends in Tullamore on St Stephen's night 2016 and made a "stupid, snap decision" in the early hours of the morning to get into the car with the men after hearing one of them call out her name.

She told the jury she was repeatedly sexually assaulted while in the back of the car and got into the front with one of the men to get away from the others but the sexual assaults continued with "hands reaching in from the back of the car".

She said she pushed the hands away as the men were arguing about where they would drive to.

She asked to be driven to a friend’s house but agreed to go to another location first if it meant the assaults would stop.

She heard someone say "ah lads she is good" and "we are getting it all tonight". She told prosecuting counsel Lorcan Staines she took this to mean they wanted to "do stuff" to her.

She described feeling "suffocated" and feeling like she was "teleported" between the front and the back of the car as the sexual assaults continued.

She said when the car stopped the men got out but returned one by one. She said she felt "paralysed, like my body and mind went into autopilot and I froze up..I was going nowhere. I was in a car" .

When the third man got into the car she told him to stop but he would not stop. Around that time she became aware of flashes and lights from camera phones outside the car and she told them to stop with the cameras.

As the assaults continued, she described feeling "almost a bit numb, it is a bit of a weird thing to put into words it was almost like an out of body experience because although I was there I could not believe it was happening".

She said at this stage she was "vacant, upset and in tears and quite static" and was in the passenger seat alone with four men in the back as they drove back towards the town.

She said two of the occupants were dropped off at a housing estate and she was driven back to a car park where two men in the back demanded a threesome. She said she was raped and orally raped in the back of the car and was prevented from leaving the car.

"I was upset and I was counting down the time until I could get out of there, it was a nightmare," she said. She said she was allowed to go when one of the men stopped holding onto her.

Court told 'nothing was consensual'

During cross examination she said nothing was consensual about what happened that night.

"I repeatedly told people to stop on different occasions. I repeatedly took hands away that weren’t meant to be there," she said.

She was asked why she did not make any attempt to get out of the car or demand to be let out on the journey out from the town, and she said "there was one of me and five of them…it was very intimidating. I don’t know what would have happened especially when I had been objecting to things and no one listened to me".

She did not agree that the atmosphere in the car was jovial and said the men were not smiling or laughing.

She agreed that nothing was said when the first man had intercourse with her and when asked why she felt she could not resist, she replied: "I don’t think it’s unreasonable that I didn’t scream stop or how dare you. I had told them to stop (earlier) and they didn’t so what makes that different, why were they going to stop then?"

Closing arguments

In closing arguments, prosecuting counsel Lorcan Staines SC told the jury that the complainant was legally a child at the time.

He said that during her evidence she did not seek to do "anybody down" and that there were numerous opportunities for her to exaggerate her evidence but she didn't do that.

Many of the charges against the defendants came not from her allegations but from their own admissions to gardaí.

He asked the jury to imagine a situation where "so many sexual things were done to you that you yourself can't even remember some of them".

He said that the defendants seemed to have a misunderstanding of what constituted consent and their assertions that she "didn't scream, didn't shout" spoke to "rape myths".

He said that failure to offer resistance does not amount to consent and that a person does not consent if she permits or submits to an act because of the application of force.

He said the complainant's evidence was that she didn't know how the men would react if she tried to run from the car or call the gardaí using one of the men's phones.

Each of the four defendants told demonstrable lies during the course of numerous garda interviews and they later admitted to these lies, he said.