A PENSIONER living in a town in County Kilkenny has been accused of leaving a woman with life threatening injuries which a court heard were more common in Sub-Saharan Africa when women have been raped with machetes.
The 68-year-old accused has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to aggravated sexual assault and intentionally or recklessly causing the woman, his then partner, serious harm at his home in a Kilkenny town on dates between December 1 and December 8, 2011.
The gynaecologist surgeon who treated the now 35-year-old complainant told the jury that the woman had a six-eight centimetre tear at the top of her vagina close to her bladder which was gaping by about two to three centimetres.
“It was such an unusual injury, one that I had rarely seen in my 20 years working,” Dr Ray O’Sullivan told Paddy McCarthy SC, prosecuting.
“It is something you would more likely see in Sub-Saharan Africa where woman have been raped with machetes,” the witness said.
He told the jury that his colleague had opened the woman’s abdomen during surgery in order to treat an infection in her stomach, while he examined her vagina to see if he might find an infection there.
He added that he and his colleague wondered; “How is this woman alive? And that is not exaggerating.”
Dr O’Sullivan told Mr McCarthy that he deduced that the woman’s injuries were inflicted with “a very forcible introduction of a sharp object, sharp enough to push through tissue”.
He told Mr McCarthy that the injury could not have been caused by normal sexual behaviour and said it would be almost impossible to self inflict such an injury due to the depth of it.
Mr McCarthy told the jury in opening the trial that the woman and the accused had been in a consensual sexual relationship at the time having met 18 months previously. He said the woman had been living in the accused’s home at the time, regularly sleeping on his coach.
Evidence was heard that the woman fell asleep after drinking half a litre of vodka and woke up later to find the accused with his fist up her vagina. He said the woman would give evidence that she was in “excruciating pain” and the man turned his fist while it was still in her vagina.
Counsel said the woman pulled the man’s fist from her and found she was bleeding. He said she would give evidence that she didn’t consent to this contact with the accused.
He said an ambulance was called for the woman the following day but she refused to go to hospital. She was taken to hospital again when her condition worsened and she was in a semi-comatose state.
The complainant, who is now aged 34, told the court that she was drinking a lot of alcohol when she first met the accused and sometimes would drink a litre of vodka a day.
She said that initially they were friends and when her housemates moved out, she was “scared” on her own and began to stay in the accused’s home for which she paid him rent.
She told Paddy McCarthy SC, prosecuting, that the defendant told her if she didn’t have sex with him she would have to leave.
“He said if I didn’t do those things he’d show me the door and I’d have nowhere to live,” she told the court.
She also told the court that the accused offered her €10,000 to have a child for him.
“He offered me €10,000 if I had a kid for him. He said I could have a child for him and go away,” she said.
The complainant told the court she woke up during the night, at around 1am, and felt the accused opening her trousers. She said she could feel his hand twisting around her stomach.
“He put his whole fist inside me. It was the worst pain I ever felt in my life. I could feel his hand twist inside me. I pulled his hand out of me,” she said.
“I have children; it was worse than giving birth this pain,” she said. “I didn’t feel well. All I know is I ended up in hospital.”
I could barely walk after it. I could feel the blood was just gushing out of me. I was really frightened,” she said. “I was screaming I was in so much pain. He blocked my mouth and told me to be quiet.”
He said, ‘Please don’t tell anyone that I have done this’.”
She said that she was in hospital for four months afterwards and had been in a coma.
Under cross-examination by Blaise O’ Carroll SC, defending, she accepted that she had a problem with alcohol in the past and said it was a lot worse when she was with the accused. Referring to the alleged incident, she said that at first she was “ashamed” to say what had happened, but later told the truth.
“That’s something I never will forget. It will stay with me for the rest of my life. I’m not the same person I used to be. I’m a totally different girl. I will always remember this,” she said.
“It’s not something I’m imagining. This man done what I said,” she told Mr O’Carroll.
The trial continues before Mr Justice George Birmingham and jury of six women and six men.
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