Belfast Telegraph

Kidnapping thug who subjected woman to night of horror jailed

By Paul Higgins

A man who subjected a young woman to a "night of horror" when he abducted her off the street has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

Jailing 23-year-old Daniel Carroll at Newry Crown Court, Judge Kevin Finnegan QC said that to describe the case as "disturbing" would be a massive understatement.

"This was a brave and resourceful young woman who underwent a night of horror," said the judge, adding that at the time the "world lay at her feet until she came across the accused".

Carroll, from Francis Hughes Park, Belleeks, Newry, had pleaded guilty on what the judge said was a "staggered" basis to offences of kidnapping, false imprisonment, sexual assault, causing actual bodily harm, driving while banned and without insurance, all on December 21, 2012.

Judge Finnegan said the "very attractive young lady" was walking close to the Square in Dundalk in the Republic on her way to meet her boyfriend when she saw a drunk man watching her and crossed the road to avoid him.

He followed her, however, and she was bundled into the back of a car with Carroll repeatedly punching her in the face and head and lying his full weight across her as the car sped off and headed to the car park of the Carrickdale Hotel.

The young woman tried to escape but was hauled back and the car and drove over the border into Northern Ireland.

The car was driven by Carroll's accomplice, 27-year-old Aileen Gray, whose case was deferred until next year to monitor her behaviour.

At one stage, their victim pretended to lose consciousness and heard the couple "discussing what to do with her body if she died".

Judge Finnegan described how Carroll's victim told him she was struggling to breathe, was asthmatic and needed her inhaler, but her pleas fell on deaf ears, adding that at one stage she "screamed" in an effort to get the attention of passing motorists but to no avail.

"The victim was subjected to an increased level of violence," said the judge, telling the court that Carroll grabbed his victim with one hand while punching her with the other.

When Gray got out and left, Carroll took over the driving and his victim "tried to befriend him", chatting to him and asking questions to "curb his aggression" until they got to Carroll's home, where he told her she could "sleep in any room she wanted".

The charge of sexual assault arose when he kissed her on the mouth and rubbed her thigh with his hand, but she pushed it away "and he accepted that", and even offered to give her a lift back to Dundalk.

The woman's ordeal ended and Carroll was arrested when he "left her alone for long enough" that she fled the house and managed to summon help from a neighbour.

Turning to the various reports, Judge Finnegan said that "all too often" the circumstances of victims were overlooked, before recounting how Carroll's victim had had "distinguished academic progress", a happy domestic life and a boyfriend, but that what happened to her "has destroyed" that academic progress and potentially her career.

In relation to Carroll, Judge Finnegan said he had shown genuine "remorse and shame" for what he had done, telling the court he was not assessing him as a dangerous offender because of his previously clear criminal record. Carroll was ordered to remain on the police sex offenders register "indefinitely", with his sentence split into half in custody and half on supervised licence.

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