A Belfast man who raped a woman he met on Tinder in her own home has been sentenced to seven years in prison.
Homas Markey was convicted by Judge Geoffrey Miller QC, who split the sentence equally between prison and supervised license.
The judge said that although Markey was convicted by a jury earlier this year of raping the woman at her home in Bangor in September 2020, he has shown no remorse and continues to plead his innocence.
The 33-year-old father of two appeared at Downpatrick Crown Court in Belfast via video link with Maghaberry for his sentencing.
The court heard Markey, of Torrens Avenue in Belfast, was arrested and charged with rape after an incident involving a woman he met through the Tinder dating app.
After meeting online, Markey and the 31-year-old woman agreed to book an overnight stay at a Belfast hotel.
The couple booked a room for September 19, 2020 and planned to have first intercourse while staying at the hotel.
Two days before the agreed overnight stay, Markey took the train from Belfast to Bangor and went to the woman’s house for a drink.
He had originally planned to take the train back to Belfast that evening, but as the night progressed it was decided that he would stay longer so they could spend more time together and he would catch a taxi back to Belfast early the next morning.
While at the woman’s home, she drank between eight and 10 cans of beer while he drank most of a bottle of Jack Daniels.
During the trial, jurors heard the couple briefly “kiss and cuddle” before she went to bed and fell asleep.
In the early hours of the morning she awoke from her sleep to find Markey having sex with her.
She told him to stop but he continued until he ejaculated.
A cab was hailed and Markey left. From the cab, he texted her at 1.37am, saying: “So sorry dear. I hope You are fine. Really didn’t expect that. I really thought everything would be ok but obviously not. I am sorry. I thought everything was fine. Hope you are well xxx.”
While he was taking a taxi back to Belfast, the woman ran to a neighbor’s house. She was clearly distraught, and after telling her neighbor what had just happened, the PSNI was alerted.
The woman was approached by police and taken for a medical exam, and Markey was arrested just before 4 a.m. on September 18.
During a police interview, he confirmed that he had met the woman on Tinder and that they had agreed to wait until the hotel to have sex.
When asked what happened at their home, Markey said the sexual activity between them was consensual.
He also claimed that he and the woman had sex twice, and it was only the second time that she “got frantic” and told him to leave.
Convicting Markey, Judge Miller said, “The jury rejected his account and unanimously convicted him of rape.”
The judge found that Markey has maintained his innocence and has therefore shown no remorse for his actions, citing several aggravating factors.
This includes “the fact that the crime took place in the victim’s home and in her bed, where she had a right to feel safe.”
Judge Miller added: “It happened in the early hours of the morning while she was asleep and the defendant was a guest who had betrayed her trust.
“She was drunk, had been sleeping and was therefore vulnerable.
“The defendant knowingly resisted and ignored her express refusal to have sexual intercourse with him that evening.”
In addition to serving a seven-year sentence, Markey was placed on the sex offender registry indefinitely and the subject of a 10-year sex crimes prevention order.
Following the sentencing, PSNI Detective Sergeant Rebecca Hedley said: “It was a terrible ordeal for the victim. Mr. Markey acted recklessly in his actions, with complete disregard for the victim’s consent, leaving her shattered and with what is no doubt long-lasting trauma.
“Sexual abuse and assault of any kind is taken incredibly seriously by the PSNI. We worked with the victim who bravely came forward and brought her attacker to justice today to answer for his crimes.
“She wants her courage to speak out about Mr Markey to encourage other potential sex crime victims to come forward and break the silence about their abusers.
“We actively seek out those who are sexually exploiting, abusing or assaulting anyone in our communities so that we can expose them to their crimes.
“Rest assured that we have specially trained officers who treat victims with sensitivity and respect – at every stage of the process.
“I would continue to encourage anyone who has experienced any form of sexual abuse or assault to call police on 101 or in an emergency, 999.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/man-jailed-for-raping-woman-he-met-on-tinder-41665403.html Man jailed for raping woman he met on Tinder