A woman who was raped while she slept by a man who broke into her home in the middle of the night has told the Central Criminal Court the trauma will stay with her for the rest of her life.
The court was hearing a victim impact statement in the case of Kamal Kumar Nepali of Beech Park Ballincollig, Cork who was convicted by a jury last month on eight charges including rape, trespass, assault and sexual assault of the woman at a house near University College Cork on 1 March 2022.
He was described in court as a predator seeking to rape a vulnerable woman on the night.
He was also convicted of entering as as trespasser to four other properties on the same night.
The court was told the woman awoke shortly before 7am to find the stranger in her bed and discovered she was covered in love bites and bruises. She had been out with friends the night before and was a heavy sleeper especially after consuming alcohol, the court was told.
The man offered to give the woman a lift and said he had been there three weeks previously but she knew she had never met him before. The woman became hysterical and called for her flat mate who told her a man had entered her room some hours before and she had told him to leave and believed he had left.
Detective Sergeant John Paul Twomey told the court that an investigation later established through CCTV that Nepali had parked his car in the area and had been trying numerous doors and had entered a number of other properties.
In one case he was confronted by two men and left but appeared to be checking properties in a “calculated and calm” manner. He said all houses he entered were dark and he did so without permission.
Det Sgt Twomey said it was clear his intention was to go to the area and seek a vulnerable or intoxicated female to rape.
After his arrest he gave a number of different accounts to gardaí but eventually said was looking for a place to stay and the woman had invited him into her bedroom. The court was told he accepts he was trespassing but does not accept the jury verdict on the rape charge.
In a victim impact statement read to the court the woman said she had been asleep in what she thought was the safety of her own home until a complete stranger entered uninvited in the early hours of the morning.
She said she had “never seen, met or spoken to this person until I woke up beside him in my own bed. I was sexually assaulted and raped while I slept, having drunk a significant amount of alcohol the previous night”.
The woman described having to be examined at hospital as “horrific” and that she felt like it was another violation of her body. She recalled how her whole body was shaking for the entire day out of “pure shock and fear” and that she was covered in love bites and bruises which she had to cover up until they were gone for her sake and to protect her family and friends.
She recalled returning home to her family and seeing her father cry and how her parents and siblings did not know how to act around her. “No one did,” she added.
She said she tried to put on a brave face for the sake of others but the feelings of confusion fear and upset will never leave her.
“I no longer felt safe in my own home. I had lived out of home since 2015 and found myself having to move back home to my parents at the age of 24,” the statement said. She said she had lost her independence and love of life.
Having previously been an extroverted person with a great social life and fantastic friends and family she felt her life had come to a halt.
“I was haunted by nightmares and the fear that I could never go back to the way I was. I became a shell of the person I once was, unable to speak or process the events that occurred.”
She said she wanted to try counselling but knew she would have to reexplain her trauma and felt she could not process it at that time.
She said she tried to go back to normal and back to work by moving to a different house in another location in an attempt to restart her life.
The rape and sexual assault had affected her relationships with friends and family and dating, she said adding “I don’t want to be viewed as a victim although I know I am. I find myself withholding my trauma to be treated as normal”.
The woman said she lost a year and a half of her life with the trial, having to give numerous statements and repeated visits to hospital.
“Then I had to go to court and speak about my trauma to a courtroom of strangers and the man who had committed these crimes.”
She said she still cries to this day even though the trial has finished.
“Although the trial has finished I will continue to lose sleep, my appetite and my ability to form relationships will be forever changed with this hanging over me. I thought I would feel relief when the trial finished but it doesn’t change anything.
“Now that I know what people are capable of and that it can happen to me I will never sleep with my bedroom or front door unlocked or my window open. I will always have trauma that I will never want to tell anyone, which just causes a distance with those closest to me.
“I wouldn’t wish this on anyone and will continue to carry this for the rest of my life,” she said.
Defence Counsel John Peart told the court Nepali had been living in Ireland since the age of 15 and had done his Leaving Cert. He had never come to the attention of gardaí before and had worked in the family business. A number of character references were handed in to court from family, colleagues and friends.
Mr Justice Patrick McGrath adjourned sentence until 11 March next.