She walks into the court, accompanied by the garda who had been with her 11 years earlier. Back then, she was a terrified 14-year-old, sitting in a room off the court, getting ready to give her evidence to the judge and jury via videolink.
It was a year after Simon McGinley raped her when she was just 13. It was a year after she had secretly, unwillingly, hit the headlines as the C case girl.
Now, she is a 25-year-old woman, still terrified, still damaged. But, somehow, she summoned up the strength to sit in the body of court number one and face her tormentor, the man who still comes at her and rapes her in her nightmares.
She sat right at the back of the court, occasionally looking over at Simon McGinley as Mr Justice George Birmingham told him he was jailing him for 21 years – although in reality with remission and having been in prison for a year already he’ll be free in 15.The only people she talked to was her garda, now a sergeant, and a family member of the victim of the latest woman raped by McGinley. An 85-year-old pensioner, for heaven’s sake.
The judge hit the nail on the head. “It is hard to come to terms with the fact that the same person is capable of raping a 13-year-old girl and then an 85-year-old woman.” Quite.
After the sentence is handed down, the judge rises for a few minutes. McGinley’s first victim quietly gets up from her seat and walks out. She’d seen what she wanted, needed, to see.
I rang her earlier in the day to tell her McGinley was up for sentencing for his latest rape. She rang me back a few minutes later to say she was coming down, that she had to see him being sentenced.
I met her at the Luas stop outside the Four Courts and walked her in to the complex, telling her to walk a few feet behind me just in case any photographers saw me with her and put two and two together.
By the time she got into court, the daughter of the now 86-year-old woman destroyed by McGinley had had her say. The victim impact statement was delivered with a dignity that was spellbinding. She essentially said McGinley had destroyed her mother’s life.
The C case woman never got a chance to tell a judge the damage McGinley had done to her. So here is part of an interview I did with her last month in which she does just that. Below that, I’ve put in the impact statement from the latest victim’s family.
This animal destroyed two women; a lady and a child.If you want to know what rape does to a victim and their family, read the two statements.
First, the child:
“He raped me the whole night.
“He kept stopping and raping me, stopping and raping me, stopping and raping me.
“He must have raped me about 10 times that night and then dropped me home and put a knife to my throat and said ` if you tell anybody I’m going to kill you and your family’.
“He just had no remorse in him, he had no feelings. It was like he didn’t care what he did.
“It’s like there is no fear, it’s like the devil is in him – the devil is in him.
“I am still, to this day, terrified if he comes near me.
“I hardly ever leave this apartment.
“The only time I leave this apartment is to bring the child to school, then straight back again. I get my money on Wednesday, do my shopping and straight back again.
“I don’t go out at the weekends. The last time I went out, me and my friend, some fella approached me and said `You’re the girl that was raped by Simon McGinley, aren’t you?’ That just turned me off going out, so I just don’t go out.
“I’ve set myself on fire, I’ve cut my arms, I’ve been and out of Portrane.
“It does not go away, the feelings don’t go away. The nightmares don’t go away.
“I can’t sleep. I have big massive bags under my eyes from not sleeping. I’m on sleeping tablets.
“About four hours sleep will have every night – sometimes even less.
“One time I was down in Woodie’s and I thought I saw a man like him. I was with my sister in a car and I just shouted `get out, get out, get out.’ I was afraid for my life.
“I’ve been in and out of hospitals.
They sent me to Warrenstown House, I stayed there for a year – that’s a children’s psychiatric hospital in Blanchardstown.
“I was in there for a year, highly medicated.
“I’ve been in and out of hospital a good few times.
“It’s hard but my little fella keeps me going. Only for him I would probably be 10 feet under the ground at this stage.
“I’ve tried to take my own life. I was in a coma, it was an overdose and my sister found me in the bedroom and that was only last year.
“I set myself on fire twice when I was in care and then I set myself on fire when I was on Portrane Hospital on the day of my 19th birthday.
“The fear. I just couldn’t hack it. Sometimes it just gets so unbearable that you just can’t cope with it anymore.
“You just can’t get him out of your head.
“He has ruined my life, he has ruined my life.
“You may say he has taken over my life, but I’m trying not to let him.
“I’m trying to get him out of my head, that’s why I’m going for counselling now.
“I feel like I’m choking because he was choking me and holding my mouth. I wake up all sweaty from having that dream.
“I remember trying to escape out of the van that night and he ran after me and grabbed me by the throat, shoved me back into the van and drove somewhere else and raped me again.”
Now, this is victim impact statement of the daughter of the lady he raped in her own home in June last year:
“My mother was a courageous, resourceful woman who raised 10 children in difficult times.
“It wasn’t until she was in her sixties that she had the leisure and the modest financial means to begin to really enjoy her life.
“She loved to travel and made regular trips to visit family and friends in England, Europe, America as well as the four corners of Ireland and was still doing so up until the time of the rape last year.
“Her greatest passion was gardening and she spent countless hours tending her plants and visiting famous gardens wherever she went.
“She relished all these pleasures with enthusiasm and engagement.
“It is true that she had, in recent years, become forgetful mislaid things and needed help in navigating any complicated paperwork but she was still able to drive her limited routes, to run her home and to function effectively on her own.
“She valued and was proud of her independence.
“All that capability was dramatically swept away almost overnight last June.
“The family is in no doubt that the rape by Simon McGinley led to a marked acceleration of her incipient dementia.
“It very quickly became clear that she could no longer function on her own, as before.
“She now needs someone to be with her at all times, to drive, shop, cook, clean – to effectively take over the running of her life.
“A second consequence of the rape has been an abiding fearfulness that is never far from my mother’s sense of her life now.
“The sight of an unfamiliar face, a man passing the kitchen window, an unexpected knock at the door can be a cause now of extreme anxiety for her.
“Fear is never far from the surface.
“Bad as these two consequences of the assault are, the most heartbreaking result is the loss of joy from my mother’s life.
“There has been a complete rupture with all the activities that gave her life pleasure and meaning.
“She is no longer interested in meeting with friends, no longer goes to mass, no longer travels and above all no longer cares about her garden.
“The spark that lit up her days has gone forever.
“Instead of the gradual, easeful decline into advanced years that her own parents had enjoyed, our mother was taken from the still golden phase of her life and thrust brutally into its terminal stages by Simon McGinley’s crime.”
One man did this. He destroyed two lives. And he doesn’t give a shit.