Double rapist to be sentenced within three months for crime which shocked nation

The man who raped two pre-teen girls in Athlone in September is to appear at the present sittings of the Central Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin for sentencing.

This will see the 30-year-old sentenced on some date between now and Easter (April 20 ), when the present sittings of the superior court are brought to a conclusion.

The accused faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, presently 15 years in Ireland, although this may be mitigated in some way by his early plea.

The separated father of two - who is still under the protection of a media ban on reporting his name or address - appeared in the District Court in Athlone on Wednesday (January 22 ).

This was the court at which he was first arraigned, and he was brought there from Castlerea Prison in Co Roscommon to formally sign the five guilty pleas which he initially entered into at Longford District Court in December.

He had previously appeared at Harristown District Court (attached to Castlerea Prison ) last week where the State Solicitor for Westmeath Mr Peter D Jones apologised for delaying proceedings on a book of evidence which was not required due to the guilty pleas.

The attack horrified the nation when the two girls went missing whilst attending a birthday party on a Sunday afternoon in a respectable Athlone suburb only to be raped in a nearby house by the defendant who was just visiting the locality.

It is understood the two girls bravely made their escape through a window after being left unattended, and managed to raise the alarm after being missing for around 45 minutes.

The perpetrator was apprehended shortly afterwards by relatives of the missing girls, when it is believed he went to a local supermarket for more alcohol, and swung the bag of cans at the man who asked if he had seen anyone suspicious in the vicinity.

At the District Court where there was a large angry crowd at his initial arraignment, a well rehearsed Garda operation under Inspector Aidan Minnock, assisted by a discreet presence from the regional armed response unit, saw the accused processed with a minimum of fuss, and returned to his isolation cell in Castlerea Prison.

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