Four men have been sentenced to jail for terms of up to 19 years for the rape of a 17-year-old girl in 2016.

Ms Justice Tara Burns said the men had gang raped the woman and behaved like animals. A fifth man was sentenced for sexual assault.

Marcus De Silva Umbelino (Pic: Collins Photo Agency)

22-year-old Marcus De Silva Umbelino, from Block C, Riverview, Kilbeggan, Co Westmeath, was sentenced to 14 years for rape and two four-year sentences for sexual assault.

Eduardo Dias Ferreiera Filho (Pic: Collins Photo Agency)

24-year-old Eduardo Dias Ferreiera Filho, from Block D, Riverview, Kilbeggan, Co Westmeath, was sentenced to 17 years for oral rape, four and-a-half years for sexual assault and eight years for falsely imprisoning the girl.

Gabriel Gomes Da Rocha

24-year-old Gabriel Gomes Da Rocha, from Mount Armstrong, Rahan, Tullamore, Co Offaly, was sentenced to 19 years and 15 years for raping her at two different locations and four and-a-half years for sexual assault. He was sentenced to eight years for false imprisonment.

24-year-old Conor Byrne of Ballybeg, Moate, Co Westmeath, who pleaded guilty, was sentenced to ten years.

Ethan Nikolaou (Pic: Collins Photo Agency

23-year-old Ethan Nikolaou from Brosna Park, Kilbeggan, Co Westmeath, was sentenced to six years and four years for two counts of sexual assault.

All sentences will be served concurrently.

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Ms Justice Burns said Marcus De Silva Umbelino was 17 at the time of the offence.

He had been living in Ireland since he was 15 and went to school here but his English was poor.

She accepted defence submissions that this would make life more difficult for him in prison along with his medical condition - an undiagnosed muscular disorder.

She said he had not accepted his guilt or shown remorse unlike the other men.

She took into account that he was a legally a child at the time of the offence and the testimonials submitted "which speak well of him".

She said Eduardo Dias Ferreiera Filho was 19 at the time of the offences and according to testimonials was a good father to his wife's son and also had a newborn child.

He was a hard worker and accepted the jury's verdict.

His act of oral rape was more serious than the rape of the woman in Kilbeggan because it occurred while she was being raped by another man, she said.

She said Gabriel Gomez was 19 at the time of the offences and had now accepted the jury verdict and had recommenced his education in prison and had reflected on his actions and understood the gravity of the offences.

He had previously been actively engaged with his son although separated from the child's mother. Testimonials submitted to the court spoke well of him, he noted.

The rape at the car park was more aggravating thnt the first as it was the second time he had raped the woman, she said.

Justice Burns described the case as "horrifying" and said the concept that a young vibrant woman on the cusp of adulthood could be treated in such an inhumane way was unthinkable.

She said the men had "acted like animals" and a "shred of humanity or respect, fundamentally required for a functioning society" was not to be seen that night.

She said the men had "peddled the lie" that they believed she had consented to the sexual activity adding:

"Women are not playthings, consent is not a decision for the perpetrators. Because a woman doesn't call out or fight does not mean she is consenting. How was she to know what would become of her if she fought back or attempted to escape? It is from her perspective the issue of consent must be considered, not what the accused would like it to be afterwards," she said.

While additional violence may not have been used, she rejected out of hand defence submissions that the offences fell into the mid-range category.

She said the nature of the rapes, one after the other in front of other men who either had or would go on to rape, is "degradation of the most extreme level".

"The act of a gang rape is offending behaviour of the most serious kind," she said, adding that it was aggravated by films being taken while a young woman was "being violated against her will in front of the men who had raped and would rape her - this depravity is absolutely shocking so I reject out of hand the contention that it falls within the mid-range of offending. It does not."

Judge Burns said the victim in the case was not stupid or naive as she had described herself for getting into the car that night.

"She was in a small country town where she thought she was safe even if it wasn't her friends coming back for her she could reasonably assume that boys her own age from the same area would get her home. She was entitled to assume that society works in some civilised fashion where there is respect for a female. Little did she know that she got into a car with people devoid of respect for her or themselves."

She described the woman as extremely smart, seriously impressive and very articulate. She could not do justice by trying to describe "the devastation these events have caused her and family".

She later addressed the woman directly and said: "I wish I wasn't the judge and I could say something comforting.

"You are an absolutely amazing young woman. It is not often we see such humility and ability to conduct yourself with absolute dignity. I have been absolutely taken aback by your ability to conduct yourself in such a manner I can't put into words..."

She said the woman's family had been amazing and she did not know how they got through it. She also paid tribute to the woman's friends, in particular the young men who came to her assistance on the night and took her to the Garda station. The judge said: "For all of the awfulness of this case these men’s assistance shines out as a beacon. These young men knew a terrible deed had been committed."

She said they were fantastic boys and were "a shining light unlike the other individuals".

The judge also paid tribute to defence barristers who she said had conducted themselves in their cross examination of the victim to the highest standard of the bar. She said they were respectful and gracious and did their job in the least confrontational manner while doing the job they had to do.

'A nightmare'

Four of the men were convicted in April at the Central Criminal Court of a range of sexual offences against the 17-year-old girl in the midlands in December 2016.

A fifth man had earlier pleaded guilty to rape.

The four men who had been on trial 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, 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.

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

Gabriel Gomes Da Rocha, 24, 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.

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

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

The verdicts followed a trial during which the jury heard how 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 described how she had been out with friends in Tullamore on St Stephen's night 2016 and made what she described as 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.

In her victim impact statement delivered to the court on Monday, the woman who is now in her 20s said being raped by four men at the age of 17 had ruined her life and she would never be the same person again.

She said the only way to describe the effect was like "a falling colosseum".

She said: "First it took the internal parts of me - my dignity, my innocence, my trust, my confidence, my self worth. Then it started taking my external parts. My education fell apart, my social skills, my friendships dwindled and isolation crept in."

Now suffering from flashbacks and PTSD, she described having to give detailed evidence at the trial knowing it would take her back to the time and place of the assaults as terrifying.

Directly addressing the men who had denied the charges she said she would never forgive them, describing some of their actions as "deviously calculating".

To the man who pleaded guilty to rape she said she he had left it until the very last minute but he had done the right thing and she would try to forgive him.