Northern Ireland

Man jailed for raping teenager

A County Down man convicted of raping a 19 year old woman has been sentenced to seven years.

John Paul Brannigan, of Moneyscalp Road, Kilcoo, was found guilty last month at Downpatrick Crown Court of raping the teenager at a house party in Newcastle in August 2009.

The judge told the 26 year old on Friday he would serve half the sentence in jail and the other half on licence.

He said Brannigan's continued denials showed he "has no remorse".

Judge Geoffrey Millar QC said, however, that given his clear criminal record, good education, stable family background and good employment history, he was not classifying him as a dangerous offender.

'Blacked out'

The victim had told the trial how she had gone to a bar and then onto a house party but had "blacked out" in one of the bedrooms.

When she came around, she managed to fight back, the court heard.

The judge said the four days the victim had spent giving evidence in the witness box, coupled with the consequences of being raped had left her "severely traumatised".

He told Downpatrick Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, that she had suffered "significant psychological turmoil" to such an extent that her personality had changed, perhaps for life.

An additional aggravating factor, he said, was that although he did not break into the bedroom, once in there "it's absolutely clear that he decided to have intercourse with her, knowing that she was powerless to resist".

Brannigan was also ordered to sign the police sex offenders register for the rest of his life and barred from working with children.