Belfast Telegraph

Trio raped woman in back of van, court told

By Declan Brennan

Three teenagers raped a woman in the back of a van while another woman watched, a court was told.



It is claimed the young men were driving around at 3am in a white van with a mattress in the back when they met the woman and drove her to a remote location.

The woman said that she heard one man shouting "hi-dee-ho" during the alleged attack.

She added that there was a woman inside the back of the van "watching everything" and egging the men on.

The accused were aged 15, 16 and 18 at the time of the alleged gang rape three years ago and the complainant was aged 31.

The men, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have each pleaded not guilty to four charges relating the rape and sexual assault of the woman.

One of the men has pleaded guilty to stealing the woman's car from outside her home.

The Central Criminal Court was told that the alleged attack happened in Cork on September 13, 2009.

Opening the trial, prosecuting counsel Patrick McCarthy told the jury that it is alleged the three accused had planned criminal activity.

The woman said that she had been on a night out with friends and that she couldn't remember how she ended up in the back of a van with the four strangers. She said the last thing she remembers is talking to a drunken girl at a pub at around 2am.



She said the next thing she was aware of was being in the back of the van.

She said there was one man sitting beside her and that they stopped after driving for about 10 minutes.

She said others then got into the back and she became scared and realised she was outnumbered. She said the four people had Traveller accents.

The jury was shown photographs of bruising to the woman's hands, arms and thighs.

The woman said she received these bruises as a result of struggling with her alleged attackers. She said her clothes and underwear were pulled off.

She said at one stage the men went through her handbag and found her car keys and asked for her address.

She said she didn't know where she was, so she told the men her address so that they would drive her home.

She described this as making a "pact with the devil".

By the time she had gone into her house, the van and her car were gone.

She immediately told a friend what had happened and they alerted gardai.

She denied a suggestion from defence counsel Timothy O'Leary that she had consensual sex with one of the men.

She said: "I had been fighting him off; I think that pretty much says no.

"I remember pushing him away. I remember telling someone to get away from me. I said no at some stage."

The trial continues before Mr Justice Paul Carney and a jury of seven women and five men. It will last up to two weeks.

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