HMA v Oran O’Neill

At the High Court in Edinburgh today (20 December 2019) Judge Liddle sentenced Oran O’Neill to 6 years imprisonment after the offender was found guilty of rape.

On sentencing, Judge Liddle made the following statement in court:

“Oran O’Neill. You came across your victim when she was very drunk and sitting in a doorway outside a nightclub. She was vulnerable and you took advantage of that.

You sat down beside her and engaged her in conversation. You wanted to have your way with her. You declined to tell her or anyone else your name. You learned that she could not get into the nightclub to retrieve her bag and house keys. Her friend was with her and waiting for the nightclub to close so that your victim’s bag could be retrieved. Your victim required to relieve herself and her friend wanted to remain at the nightclub for the bag. You saw your chance. Pretending to be gallant, you offered to escort her and she, in her drunken state, misplaced her trust in you. She left with you.

The video evidence, which was viewed by the jury, tells its own story of what happened next. You went to a dark entrance area. She ran from you. You caught up with her, got behind her and walked her back to another close-by area. She escaped from you again and ran again across the road. You caught her. As you were dragging her back she fainted and fell to the ground. Undeterred, you picked her up unconscious and carried her to a quiet and secluded garden area where, while she was unconscious, you raped her. She regained consciousness to find you in the act. That did not deter you. You held her down and continued to rape her.

The video evidence showed that her friends came looking for her. Unbeknown to them, they passed the entrance to the area where you were in the act of raping her. She is seen to eventually emerge from the area and make off. You casually follow as though nothing had happened and phone a work colleague to come and collect you in a taxi.

But for the video evidence and your mistake in getting into that taxi, concealing your identity might have worked. Fortunately, it did not. Galashiels is a safer place for young women to go on a night out.

What you have done is a young woman’s nightmare. I have read the victim impact statement. It is unlikely that your victim will ever fully recover from her ordeal. Lacking the courage to own up to what you had done, you put her through the further ordeal of having to recount events and give evidence in court. She saw, for the first time, what she was unable to remember. She saw you chase her and catch her. She saw you lift her up and carry her off to be raped by you.

You will have ample opportunity to ponder your predatory conduct. You will do that in prison. The sentence I have selected is a period of 6 years imprisonment. That takes account of the despicable crime you have committed. It takes account of what is contained in the CJSWR and the submission made on your behalf. As it must, it also takes account of your lack of previous offending history.

You are accordingly sentenced to 6 years imprisonment commencing from when you were first place on remand.

This is an offence to which the Sexual Offences Act 2003 applies. You will be subject to an indefinite period of registration under the Act.”