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'I fear he will rape someone else' – Brave Dominique Meehan hits out as attacker appeals sentence

The young woman who was raped at a gaming convention in a Dublin hotel has told how she fears her attacker will rape other women after hearing he has lodged an appeal against his sentence.

Dominique Meehan, from Letterkenny, Co Donegal, was 24 when she was attacked by Tallaght man Keith Hearne at the Crowne Plaza in Blanchardstown in 2015.

Hearne (29), from Allenton Drive, received a 12-year sentence in 2017 for rape and false imprisonment.

Dominique was told last week that Hearne’s appeal is to come before the Court of Appeal on April 12.

“All I can do now is hope that he serves all his sentence. I don’t think he’ll ever come after me again,” she told the Herald.

“I don’t think he’d be that brave, but my fear is that he would rape someone else and they might not report it. Sometimes I wouldn’t blame someone for not reporting a rape.”

Dominique described her horror at learning about her attacker’s appeal.

“It was a big shock for me to hear it. I practically collapsed. I couldn’t stop crying,” she said.

“I nearly overdosed. I could feel no relief for all the anger I was feeling.

“He threatened to kill me. I believe that when you plead guilty you give up your right to challenge your sentence.

  • Read more: Man jailed for violent rape of young woman at gaming convention to appeal his 12-year sentence
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“Hearne got a lesser sentence for pleading guilty. He would have got 15 years otherwise.

“Fifteen years isn’t even good enough for him. Castration isn’t good enough for him. I can’t go through all of this again.

“I went to the doctor last Friday after self-harming. I was then brought to the ED department and then was in the psychiatric ward in Letterkenny for four days.”

During Hearne’s trial the court heard how he locked the door of a conference room in the hotel where he had cornered Dominique, bound her hands with his tie and raped her.

When she screamed, he told her he had a knife in his bag and would use it if she didn’t keep quiet.

His bag, containing a “rape kit” of a prop knife, handcuffs, condoms, a mask and “sado-masochistic” items, was later found at the scene, the Central Criminal Court heard.

Dominique was only saved when another person forced their way into the room after they heard the disturbance inside.

She waived her right to anonymity after Hearne was convicted, so he could be named in public.

Hearne, now known as Prisoner 107512, pleaded guilty to two counts of rape, one count of oral rape and one count of falsely imprisoning gaming enthusiast Dominique.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy handed down the 12-year sentence, saying the ordeal had been “devastating” for Dominique.

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The judge said Hearne had perpetrated an “extremely violent series of sexual offences”, extending to her false imprisonment.

After Hearne was sentenced, Dominique said she would have to reinvent herself because she had forgotten who she was before.

“I don’t know who I am any more,” she told the Herald at the time.

“I can’t remember who I was before I was raped, and I’m trying to reinvent myself so I’ll know who I am.

“In my opinion, that person that he raped is dead. That person was so naive, so innocent, because I suppose I believed those kind of things didn’t happen to people.

“I’d see it in the news and in the papers, but I just couldn’t believe that something that awful could happen to someone, but now I know it does, so that person, I believe, is dead.”

When Hearne was imprisoned he was first taken to Mountjoy to be processed.

It is usual for prisoners to spend their first night in the Dublin jail, but in Hearne’s case he was transferred straight to the Midlands Prison over fears that he could be attacked by other inmates.

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