‘I am handing the shame back to you’: Woman raped with bottle left with serious physical injuries, court told

Jonathan Moran (26) of Tower View, Mullingar, Westmeath was convicted of rape and aggravated sexual assault of the woman after a night out at the Galway Arts Festival

Jonathan Moran pictured at the Criminal Courts of Justice on Parkgate Street in Dublin for his sentence hearing. Photograph: IrishPhotoDesk.ie

A woman who was raped with a bottle following a night out has said that she wants to be a “support and advocate for other victims of sexual violence” as she is aware that not every victim gets to see their attacker convicted.

Bláthnaid Raleigh waived her anonymity to allow Jonathan (AKA Johnny) Moran (26) to be named in reporting of the case.

Moran of Tower View, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, was convicted by a Central Criminal Court jury of section four rape of Ms Raleigh in a garden shed in Galway on July 21st, 2019.

Fiona Murphy SC, defending, said that her client had “difficulty facing up to the case” but now accepts the verdicts of the jury and is remorseful. The court heard he has no previous convictions and comes from a good hard-working family.

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Ms Raleigh is also from Mullingar and Moran played rugby in the local club with her brothers. She had been attending the Arts Festival in Galway with a friend when they happened to bump into Moran and other people from their hometown.

The rape occurred after Ms Raleigh went back with Moran and some other young people to the AirBnB that Moran and his friends were staying in that weekend.

Moran claimed that the sexual activity on the night had been consensual and denied that he used any implement in assaulting Ms Raleigh. Her DNA was found on the opening of three plastic cordial bottles following an forensic examination of the shed.

The court heard that Ms Raleigh was left with extensive physical injuries that required months of treatment in the sexual assault unit.

Ms Raleigh read her victim impact statement into the record. She said she had not felt comfortable using the word rape until she had “validation from the court” but the conviction at trial allowed her to use that now. She told Moran she was “handing the shame back to you”.

Bláthnaid Raleigh waived her anonymity to allow Jonathan (AKA Johnny) Moran (26) to be named. Photograph: Collins Courts

She said previous to the assault, she was a typical 21-year-old in her final year of her degree, “finding her feet in adulthood” and described herself as “carefree and fun”. She said in the aftermath of the attack, her life was “totally shattered”.

Ms Raleigh referred to the physical injuries she sustained from the attack which led to her needing “invasive and ongoing” treatment in the sexual assault treatment unit for months. “This was a constant and physical reminder of the damage caused to my body,” she said.

She said she continues to suffer pain from these injuries and described “endless sleepless nights, vivid nightmares and flashbacks”.

“Typical things are no longer fun for me – my body does not enjoy new things any more,” Ms Raleigh said.

She said the attack “haunts me still in my daily life” and she fears that “men see me as damaged goods”.

Ms Raleigh said the attack “shattered the path my life was on because someone decided to hurt me” and added that she no longer enjoys going out as she is constantly worrying about the safety of those around her.

She spoke of how she never feels like she is in a safe place but Moran “has a normal life since the incident”.

Ms Raleigh said her family has been her greatest support before she acknowledged how the attack impacted on their life. She said her brothers have left the rugby club they had been in for 20 years as Moran was in the same club.

She said she has experienced “fear, anger, sadness and loss”. She said the justice process has “felt so pointless” at times but she said she is so grateful to “those 12 people who believed me”.

Ms Raleigh said she hopes to be a “support and advocate for other victims of sexual violence” before she acknowledged that some people don’t get as far as she did, with their attacker being convicted.

Ms Raleigh thanked the rape crisis centre and the gardaí.

“There are physical and mental scars to heal,” Ms Raleigh said before she added that when she tells people what happened to her they tell her she is so strong.

“I don’t want to be strong. I feel cheated that this is my life,” Ms Raleigh said before she described how something can trigger her which leads to her sleep being impacted.

She said she is moving on to the next stage of her life.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt revoked Moran’s bail and remanded him in custody until July 1st next for sentence.

Earlier the court heard that Ms Raleigh arrived at the garda station in the early hours of July 21st, 2019 in a “significant degree of distress”. She had been guided there by three strangers who found her on a nearby street.

She later made a statement to gardaí explaining that she and a friend had travelled to Galway for the Arts Festival that weekend and happened to run into various people they recognised from Mullingar, including Moran.

Her friend left with someone else she knew and Ms Raleigh remained with the group, deciding later to go back to the AirBnB Moran was staying in. Later in the evening she went to a garden shed on the property with Moran.

Gda Noone agreed that once in the shed, the door was shut and Ms Raleigh was not able to open it.

Moran “manhandled her” and attempted to have sex with her, forcing her head against the shed door. She was unable to move or get a grip on anything and she was trapped in the shed, Gda Noone said.

The shed was dark but Ms Raleigh felt severe pain. The assault came to an end when voices were heard outside in the garden.

Counsel said that Ms Raleigh later said that as she was leaving the shed “she initially masked her distress”, made her way to a bathroom to examine herself, gathered up her belongings and then left the property.

She didn’t know where she was and was in a great deal of distress before she was accompanied to the nearby garda station and made her complaint. Gardaí responded immediately and the garden shed was preserved as a crime scene within minutes of her arrival at the station.

Gda Noone agreed that Moran maintained his position of innocence throughout the trial. He has no previous convictions and has never come to garda attention. He has complied with all his bail conditions.