A teenage girl who was raped and sexually assaulted a number of times over two and-a-half hours in a rural part of Co Kerry almost three years ago has been describing how she changed from being happy and always smiling to contemplating taking her life.
A victim impact statement was read to the Central Criminal Court on the teenager's behalf this afternoon.
In it, she described suffering depression and an eating disorder since the incidents occurred in July 2020.
"The eating disorder was a way of killing myself slowly, which I wanted to do because of how disgusted I felt, because of what was done to me," she said. "I was always smiling and fine before the night of the rape and sexual assault. I was happy growing up, but that night changed everything."
She described being hospitalised in a psychiatric unit, at a point where her organs were failing.
The teenager's statement was read to a sentencing hearing for two teenagers who were convicted of raping and sexually assaulting her. The hearing took place at the Central Criminal Court, sitting this afternoon in Cork.
The court was told that some of the offences took place simultaneously.
The two teenagers were convicted by a jury following a 12-day trial at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Tralee, Co Kerry, in January.
The jury found the older teenager, who is now 19, guilty of rape, oral rape and two counts of sexual assault of the then 16-year old girl in a rural part of the county in July 2020.
The younger teenager, who is now 17, was found guilty of one count of oral rape and one count of sexual assault.
For legal reasons, none of the three teenagers can be identified.
The trial heard that the 16-year-old and a friend sneaked out of her home in the early hours of the morning, having arranged to meet the two accused and another teenager.
She said she consumed at least five cans of cider and three-quarters of a bottle of wine.
The offences occurred over the following two-and-a-half hours, at a time when the girl described herself as being drunk and clueless, and passing in and out of consciousness.
The question of consent was central to the trial, with the defence claiming she consented at all times and the prosecution arguing she did not consent or was so drunk that she was incapable of consenting.
This afternoon, the court heard the teenage girl continues to suffer panic attacks and feels she cannot cope.
"I gave up school, never did my Leaving Cert. I have no qualifications, and I gave up all my sports and dropped most of my friends," she said in her victim impact statement.
She said she had taken more than a thousand tablets over the last two years, has had over 150 hours of counselling and has been hospitalised for more than 100 days.
"My quality of life has changed so much," she said.
She described feeling like she was under arrest during the trial, and how she never expected so much detail of the sexual assault on her to be published in the media which her family read.
"This broke my whole privacy and confidentiality," she said. "I would never have told my family about this in such detail."
She said the night should never have happened.
"I was disrespected in a way I would never have done to anyone," she said. "What was done to me took me into the worst times of my life. It is still impacting on me."
The court was told that neither of the two convicted teenagers had any previous convictions.
Senior Counsel Mark Nicholas, for the older teenager, asked that sentencing would be as lenient and proportionate as possible, given that his client was 17 at the time.
Senior Counsel Seamus Clarke, for the younger teenager, submitted that what had happened had been on the spur of the moment and was in no way pre-meditated.
"He is still a juvenile and was at the time and falls to be sentenced as a child, where custody is a last resort."
Mr Justice Michael McGrath said he will pass sentence on the two teenagers in Dublin on 23 March at 2pm.
The older teenager was remanded in custody to prison until that date.
The younger teenager, as a juvenile, was remanded in detention.