Ballinasloe man jailed for ten years for sustained sex attack while victim’s son slept in next room

A Ballinasloe man who broke into the home of a mother of four and subjected her to a sustained sexual assault while her son slept in the next room has been sentenced to 14 years with the final four years suspended.

Married father, Charlie Cawley (28 ), of Esker Hills, Ballinasloe pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the attempted rape and aggravated sexual assault of the woman in the early hours of February 27, 2010.

Throughout the 40 minute ordeal, Cawley made threats to impregnate the victim and kill her and her son.

Detective Garda Frank Gallagher told Paul Green SC, prosecuting, that Cawley, a member of the Travelling community, used a wheelie bin to scale the back wall of the victim’s home and climbed up a drainpipe in through a bedroom window to where she was sleeping.

The court heard that Cawley then climbed on top of the woman, gripped her forcibly by the throat and attempted to rape her before anally raping her.

Before leaving the scene, Cawley took the victim’s mobile phone and house keys.

When questioned by gardai Cawley repeatedly denied he had ever been in the victim’s home before finally claiming that he had engaged in consensual sexual activity with her.

On the first day of his trial which was scheduled to go ahead last July, Cawley changed his plea to guilty on two charges of attempted rape and aggravated sexual assault.

Defence counsel Garret Baker BL, appealed to Mr Justice Barry White to consider a number of mitigating factors such as Cawley's extreme intoxication at the time of the attack, his low IQ, and his history of depression. Mr Baker also said that the fact that Cawley was a Traveller meant he would find prison life more difficult than most.

Mr Green submitted that the victim has been left severely traumatised by the assault and is receiving on-going psychiatric care.

Mr Justice Barry White described the offences as being on the higher end of the scale and sentenced Cawley to 14 years on both charges, with the final four suspended. Cawley, gripping rosary beads, broke down in tears as the sentence was passed down.

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