Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Declan Brennan

A hotel porter has been jailed for five and a half years for the oral rape and sexual assault of a colleague at the end of a staff night out.

Alexander Udrea (33) of Lennox Street, Portobello, Dublin was convicted last March after a trial at the Central Criminal Court of sexually assaulting the woman a number of times at her then home in the city on January 6th, 2019.

Udrea and the woman had been out at a staff Christmas party and had left a nightclub together. They got a taxi to go back to her home and there was some kissing in the taxi.

Outlining the case for sentence, John Fitzgerald SC said that once at the house there was consensual sexual activity including oral sex.

The woman then told the man that she was on her period and did not want to engage in any penetrative sex.

She was trying to move away from him and fell off the bed and Udrea grabbed her and put her back on the bed, and put his penis into her mouth.

He then put his fingers inside her and later tried to insert his fingers into her back passage, while the woman was telling him no and “please stop”.

Maybe I did something wrong but I can’t remember

The court heard there was evidence of bruising as a result of Udrea’s handling of the woman. Immediately after the assaults he fell asleep and the woman told a friend who was staying in the house.

The two women then told the defendant to leave and the next day the woman went to a doctor and then to gardaí.

Udrea told gardaí that he had drank wine, beer and rum during the earlier part of the night and that he could not remember what happened at the house.

He said “maybe I did something wrong but I can’t remember”, the court head.

He had pleaded not guilty to five charges and a jury acquitted him of oral rape and sexual assault relating to the earlier sexual activity.

The jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts on the oral rape, sexual assault and attempted sexual assault relating to the later acts.

Verdict

At the sentence hearing on Wednesday, defending counsel Desmond Dockery SC told Justice Karen O’Connor that his client accepts the verdicts of the jury.

Mr Dockery said that the actions that night of his client, who has no other convictions, were totally out of character and that his client’s remorse is genuine.

He said his client has demonstrated insight into the effects of his actions on the woman. He said his client was a modest drinker who did not drink heavily or frequently.

He said that it seems that the amount of drink consumed by him that night resulted in a “radical personality change in him”.

Mr Dockery said “voluntary intoxication is not a defence” but submitted that it may provide some sort of explanation and asked the court to take into consideration the effect alcohol can have on someone’s behaviour.

He said Udrea had left Romania in 2013 in order to build a good life for himself and had worked here during that time. At the time of the trial he was working as a food delivery courier.

He said his client was frank and straightforward with gardaí and made admissions which demonstrated a lack of cunning or deceit.

Dignity

In her victim impact statement, the woman said the assaults had stripped her of her dignity and turned her from a confident carefree woman to someone riddled with anxiety.

She said she had moved to the city from a small rural town with “hopes and dreams” of a new life but she went back to that rural town after the attacks “broken and wounded”.

Justice O’Connor said that the offences have had a significant and lasting impact on the victim who still struggles with intimacy.

She said Udrea had abused the trust placed in him when the woman invited him back and had violated her in her own home.

She noted the mitigating factors including his previous good character, lack of any other criminal record, his good work history and the personal tragedies including the recent death of his father while Udrea was in custody awaiting sentence.

She imposed a six-year prison term and suspended the final six months on condition that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour, and engage with the Probation Service for a year after his release.

She backdated the sentence to March 23rd last, when Udrea was remanded in custody after conviction.


If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800 77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help.

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