Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Rapist who chatted with victim’s mum sent to jail

A teenager who followed a woman down an unlit alleyway and raped her has been jailed for six-and-a-half years.

Eamon McKinney, now 21, was 18 when he committed the offence in Sampson’s Lane, Downpatrick, two days before Christmas 2006.

Antrim Crown Court was told that McKinney tried to talk to the woman while she was walking home alone from a nearby bar.

Crown prosecutor Donna McColgan said that as the woman walked, she stopped, as “her feet were sore”, and called her mother.

McKinney, of nearby Stream Street, appeared and asked her where she lived, offering to walk her home.

He even spoke to the victim’s mother on the phone, the court was told. She remembered him saying his name was Eamon and “something along the lines that he had an association with the chip shop next to the taxi place in Stream Street”.

The woman declined his offer and carried on towards Sampson’s Lane when she realised he was walking behind her. He grabbed her by the coat and tried to kiss her before pushing her to the ground.

She tried to get her mobile phone out of her bag but McKinney had started pulling at her clothing and told her to “shut up” before raping her. Afterwards McKinney ran off. A passer-by heard the victim sobbing and took her towards her home.

Initially denying any involvement, McKinney then told police he had |consensual sex with the woman after DNA evidence linked him.

Defence counsel Eugene Grant QC told Judge Philip Babington that |McKinney, from a “respected family in Downpatrick”, had considered suicide in the run-up to the trial, for which he needed psychiatric help.

“It is of supreme irony that he was quite young, clearly sexually immature with very limited sexual experience prior to the incident,” Mr Grant said.

“It is extremely unusual that, during the course of conversation, he effectively identified himself both to her and, a short time later, her mother.

“There was a lack of pre-meditation, sophistication or guile, but rather a spontaneous act by him,” he said.

The rape was over within a minute, which Mr Grant said reflected the fact McKinney had “come to his senses”.

“It’s a strange incident and reflects someone who has begun the act, but |it’s too late for him and he is to face |the consequences.”

Reports showed McKinney had a “low intellectual function” and was socially isolated.

Judge Babington imposed the jail term and ordered McKinney to sign the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely.

He will also be subject to licensing conditions on his release and |was banned from ever working |with children.

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