Fury as notorious rapist walks free again
A notorious rapist who phoned his victim's mother to boast of his heinous crime has walked free from court yet again, after being handed another suspended sentence.
Michael Quinn (22), formerly of Glasvey Drive in west Belfast, pleaded guilty to breaching the rules of his probation-approved hostel accommodation in January.
It's the latest in a string of offences committed since he was released on parole in 2009.
Suspending a two-month jail term for two years at Belfast Crown Court yesterday, Judge Patrick Lynch told Quinn if he continued to breach court orders he would face imprisonment.
"I can assure you that as far as I'm concerned, these two months will be consecutive to any other sentence," the judge said.
However, the sentence has sparked anger and led to new calls for the courts to get tough on serial offenders.
In May 2007 Quinn was sentenced to eight years for the brutal rape and sexual abuse of a 15-year-old English schoolgirl in August 2005.
Kirsty McKimm and three friends had been walking to a 24-hour garage on Blacks Road in west Belfast when they came across Quinn and his cousin Terence McKenna.
While McKenna robbed the boys of their money and personal belongings, beat them with an iron bar and ordered them to strip to the waist, Quinn, who was armed with a screwdriver, dragged the schoolgirl to a filling station forecourt and forced her to perform a sex act before raping her twice.
During the two-hour ordeal, Quinn used his victim's phone to taunt Kirsty's mother with numerous calls and text messages.
The young woman later waived her right to anonymity to speak out about her ordeal and her attempts to rebuild her life.
Since his release in 2009, Quinn has been before the courts for breaching licence conditions and was jailed for attempted burglary and attempted car theft.
Yesterday he was accused of drinking alcohol in his hostel - breaching the conditions of a court-imposed sexual offences prevention order.
Judge Lynch told Quinn he was suspending the jail term because of his early guilty plea and because he had already served a sentence on account of the same act.
However, the suspension has been branded "too lenient".
"This guy is a menace to society," said Jim Wells, a member of Stormont's justice committee.
"Everybody was appalled when they heard of his previous crime.
"Clearly he is a serial offender and he should be put away for a very long time indeed."
West Belfast Sinn Fein councillor Gerard O'Neill said it was time for the courts to get tough.
"I think some of the judges are completely out of touch with what is going on on the ground," he said.
"And that leads to individuals being released to carry out further criminal acts.
"People are sick and tired of it. The courts need to stand up and show that they are there to protect the community.
"For many people the courts are seen as a sort of 'toothless tiger' when it comes to dealing with individuals with a record of breaching court orders," he added.