The Independent today said that a woman who was raped by a man who purported to come to her aid after she got lost on a night out in Dublin says she is now a “broken person”.
In a victim impact statement read out in the Central Criminal Court today the married mother described how she suffers from panic attacks and depression since she was raped by Mohamed Okda while on a night out in Dublin city in 2014.
“My trusting nature and heart has been broken,” she said. “I am now a broken person…My belief that people are essentially good and my belief in people around me has been damaged.”
Okda (30), an Egyptian national formerly of Coolfin, Rathdowney, Co Laois, was found guilty by a jury of two counts of raping the woman and one count of sexually assaulting her at a flat in Dublin city centre on a date in February, 2014.
The jury took just under three hours to return unanimous guilty verdicts on all counts following a seven-day trial at the Central Criminal Court earlier this month. One of the jurors returned to court today for the sentence hearing. The matter will return to court on October 9.
Garda Mark Mahon told Sean Guerin SC, prosecuting, that the woman travelled to Dublin to enjoy her first night out since the birth of her child. Around 4am she got separated from her friends after she went to an ATM to get money out for a homeless person.
She didn’t know the exact address of where she was staying that night and couldn’t get through to her friends, the court heard. She was upset and crying when she was approached by Okda, who suggested she come back to his apartment where she could continue to try and contact her friends.
The court heard the woman was drunk and tired at that point. She fell asleep or blacked out on a sofa bed in the apartment and woke up to find Okda touching her.
[…]woke up to find Okda touching her
The woman repeatedly said “No” and told Okda she had a husband and children, but he kept pushing her back down, telling her: “You stay. It’s OK.”
Gda Mahon said the woman was in fear for her life at this stage, and that although Okda did not make any verbal threats, she was very frightened by the expression on his face.
The woman begged Okda not to kill her before he raped her. When it was over, he told her she could go. The woman ran outside and tried to flag down a number of cars before a taxi stopped and took her to a garda (Irish police) station.
In her victim impact statement, the woman said she tried to seek counselling, but even picking up the phone to arrange appointments brought on a panic attack. She said she now feels like she has no control over her body and she hates looking at herself in the mirror.
She said she was lucky to have a supportive husband and that they were working to repair their relationship in the wake of what happened to her.
“My husband has to deal with the trauma of what happened to his wife,” she said. She said she had lost friends in the wake of that night as she couldn’t bring herself to tell them what happened to her.
“I often feel like I can’t go on. For the sake of my husband and kids I get up every day and do my best to get on with life.
“I didn’t walk away unharmed. I was once a happy person who loved to talk to people…Not a day goes by without feeling the weight of that night and what was done to me and what can never be undone.”
After she had finished speaking, Mr Justice Michael Moriarty told the woman she was an “admirable lady”. “You can hold your head high,” he told her.
Mr Guerin said Okda has 16 previous convictions in Ireland dating back to 2006, none of which are for a sexual offence. They mostly involve driving offences, public order offences and theft.
He was married to an Irish woman and applied for Irish residency on the basis of that marriage, but the Immigration Service was not satisfied the relationship was still functioning and denied the application.
A deportation order was issued and he then claimed asylum. He has been in custody since he was found guilty.