A man who attacked and raped a woman he met on the dating app Tinder has been jailed for seven-and-a-half years.
During the attack in the woman's home, Peter Loughran (36) banged the woman's head off of the floor and slapped her in the face when she started praying out loud. At one point he began filming her with his phone and slapped her in the face when she tried to cover her face with her hair.
The Central Criminal Court heard that Loughran took off the victim's clothes “very aggressively” before proceeding to rape and later orally rape her.
The incident came to an end after the victim told Loughran she was insulin dependent, pretended to faint and said she would die unless she went to hospital. She pretended to collapse as they were leaving the apartment, then went back inside her home once he had left and locked the door.
Loughran, originally from Co Monaghan, with an address at Glasnevin Downs, Ballygall, Dublin, pleaded guilty to rape and oral rape at an address in Dublin on January 5, 2018. His four previous convictions include convictions for possession of drugs, drink driving and public order offences.
At a sentencing hearing on Friday, Vincent Heneghan SC, prosecuting, read into the record a medical report which stated that after the offence, the victim was diagnosed with genital herpes which appeared to be a new infection and likely the result of the assault.
In her victim impact statement, which was read by counsel on her behalf, the victim said that Loughran “not only destroyed my life” but he also “drastically changed my future”.
“The memories of that day of horror will never be erased from my mind no matter how hard I try,” she said in her statement.
The victim said that “mentally and physically the marks are on me forever”. She said that if she is alone in her home she is afraid to open the door and if it is a man, she is afraid he will lock her in a bedroom for “another night of torture”.
She said she has scars on her vagina as a result of this and has an incurable STD. She said she is afraid she has passed the STD onto her child and will have them tested in the future.
“I just want it to be over, I never want to speak about this again,” she said.
Justice Paul McDermott said the effect of this kind of assault on a person within their own home is “very difficult” for people looking in on the facts of this case to “appreciate and understand”.
Justice McDermott said the trauma that is visited in those circumstances is “stark and deep”. He said that “very significant and terrible damage” had been done to the victim.
He said the offences were carried out in her home by a man who was “essentially a trusted guest”. He said the assaults were carried out “ in a manner that was quite degrading” and that her repeated pleas for him to stop were rejected.
Justice McDermott said that these factors, as well as a recording being made of some of what Loughran did, were aggravating factors in the case.
He said that Loughran had expressed what he was satisfied was “genuine regret and remorse”. He noted that the accused has been assessed at a low to moderate risk of sexual reoffending and is willing to engage with any appropriate programme.
Justice McDermott sentenced Loughran to nine years imprisonment, but suspended the final 18 months on strict conditions including that he refrain from using any online dating app and not contact the victim or her family in any way.
At a previous sentencing hearing, Garda Catherine Byrne told Mr Heneghan that a week or two before the incident, the victim had met Loughran on Tinder and they struck up a conversation.
Gda Byrne said the victim invited Loughran into her apartment and they had a conversation about general things. He drank half a beer and said he had drunk a lot of whiskey that day, but the victim later said she did not get a smell of alcohol from him and he did not seem drunk.
Loughran kissed her and then became aggressive and said he would massage the woman's back. He turned her around and during the massage, Loughran put his hand under her top and grabbed her breast.
The victim got “scared” and told the man it was time for him to go.
Loughran asked for water and followed her into the kitchen where she said he should leave. He said it was cold and asked if he could go to her bedroom so he could get warm as it was the only room with a heater and she replied he could get warm before leaving.
In the bedroom Loughran took off the victim's clothes “very aggressively”. Loughran penetrated the victim's vagina and anus with his fingers on several occasions.
He raped the victim while not wearing a condom, but was only able to insert the top of his penis. He also bit the woman's breasts.
At one point, he started to film her with his phone and slapped her in the face when she tried to cover her face with her hair. She started screaming and he hit her head off of the floor three times.
At another stage, he stopped touching her for a while and she started praying out loud. He told her to stop and slapped her in the face.
The victim believed that the incident would “go on for days” and started trying to “negotiate” with the man. She said she had a boyfriend who would soon arrive and a flatmate who was moving in the next morning, but Loughran did not believe either of her claims.
She tried to calm him down and reminded him of his family who he had mentioned in conversation earlier. He became calmer and said he would go if she helped him ejaculate.
She asked how and he said she could give him oral sex, which she did. Loughran “praised” her and said he would now “fuck her ass”, causing her to panic and start kicking and punching.
The incident came to an end when Loughran allowed the victim to go to the bathroom, but came with her and refused to leave. While in the bathroom, the victim pretended to vomit, tried to force herself to vomit and told him she was insulin dependent.
The victim pretended to faint and told Loughran that she would die unless she went to a hospital. He started to panic, put his clothes on and said he would take her to hospital.
As they left the apartment the victim pretended to collapse and Loughran told her to wait and he would go get his car. Once he had left her flat she went inside, locked the door and immediately called gardaí.
The victim was brought to hospital by gardaí, where she was examined and found to have bruising on numerous parts of her body including her genital and anal area.
In interview with gardaí following his arrest, Loughran denied the offences and said that “90 per cent of what she said was not true”. He said that what sexual contact there had been was consensual and he denied violently attacking her.
Gda Byrne agreed with James Dwyer SC, defending, that his client told gardaí he had grown up in Monaghan. She agreed his client had agreed to go into custody of his own volition after pleading guilty in October 2020.
In a letter of apology, which was read out on his behalf by his counsel on Friday, Loughran said he “sincerely” apologised for “what the victim had to endure”.
The accused said his actions “were not only wrong but inexcusable”. He said he cannot expect forgiveness, but hopes the victim can one day forget and live a happy life.
Mr Dwyer said his client had undergone an STI test and was clear of the infections he was tested for, but as the defence had not known the victim had been diagnosed with genital herpes, his client had not been tested for it.
Counsel submitted that his client pleaded guilty at an early stage and did not have any relevant convictions. He submitted that his client had demonstrated insight and remorse into his offending behaviour and has demonstrated a capacity to rehabilitate.