Lurgan man Conor O’Neill dragged a store clerk into a storeroom and subjected her to a horrific rape attack

The jury deliberated for 15 minutes before unanimously deciding that 22-year-old Conor O’Neill “committed the alleged acts.”

At the conclusion of the day-long trial, in which the evidence was not contested, the Craigavon ​​Crown Court jury, composed of six men and six women, deliberated for 15 minutes before unanimously deciding that 22-year-old Conor O’Neill “committed the acts as alleged” .

At an earlier hearing, O’Neill, who appeared to be from Lurgan but appeared in court via video feed from the Hydebank Young Offenders Centre, was found unfit to stand trial.

That meant the jury’s job was to determine whether the 22-year-old “committed the offenses or not,” rather than deciding guilt or innocence.

Due to a shocking incident on September 20, 2021, O’Neill was charged with two counts of oral rape, two counts of attempted rape, seven counts of sexual assault, and a single charge of attempted sexual assault through penetration, which involved acted a death threat, charged with assault.

Opening the case against O’Neill, prosecuting KC Charles MacCreanor warned jurors that they would see video footage of the incident and hear “shocking and disturbing” evidence about the attack, but reminded them that it was their duty to be dispassionate Approaching the evidence and not being swayed by it Feeling sympathetic or prejudiced.

The jury was listening to the victim work in a retail store when O’Neill walked in and asked to be shown an item.

In doing so, he “grabbed her, dragged her into an on-site storage room where he began to sexually assault her, then dragged her into a disabled toilet, locked the door, and continued his sexual assault on her.”

“You will hear her account of her ordeal, the struggle that took place, how she tried to fight back, how she thought she was going to be killed and what he did to her and said to her,” the jury’s lead attorney said .

They watched a video interview titled “Achieving Best Evidence,” in which the victim told investigators how O’Neill repeatedly forced her to have sex with him when he grabbed her head.

He “kept talking about having sex with me,” she told officers.

She said she had “no strength left” to fight back and that she was “just trying to stay alive” and that O’Neill kept trying to have sex with her but he didn’t have it done.

She said he pulled a tampon from her when he sexually abused her and ripped her clothes off, refusing to listen to her pleas: “Please, you don’t have to.”

He also repeatedly slammed the victim’s head on the ground and threatened to cut her throat.

Fearing for her life and lacking the strength to fight back, Mr MacCreanor told jurors the victim had the presence of mind to tell O’Neill to lie on his back so she could sit on him.

But when he did, “she took a deep breath, used all her strength to open the door of the disabled toilet, ran like crazy, ran out of the toilet naked, grabbed a fleece, and ran out the door like that into the street, to get help”.

As she begged passers-by for help, she yelled, “Don’t let him get on me, he’s still there… he raped me, he raped me.”

A customer who entered the store and heard her pleading had already called the police and officers were quickly on the scene.

O’Neill left the premises with his trousers around his ankles and a sip of vodka and was arrested as he was “shuffling down the street”.

As the police picked him up, he yelled, “Damn scumbag.

“I’ll see you when I get out of prison. B**** got what she deserved. I didn’t rape her, do you know why? I love raping people. I’m going to KO her, I’m going to kill her baby, I’m going to burn her family out.”

The victim received a medical within six hours of his horrific attack and doctors found more than 30 injuries including cuts, bruises and abrasions.

Following the jury’s findings, trial judge Patrick Lynch KC told them that two consulting forensic psychiatrists both agreed that O’Neill was unfit for trial because of a severe learning disability and severe mental impairment.

The judge later heard the testimony of Dr. Paul Devine, who believed that the most appropriate solution to the case was indefinite hospital treatment.

This means that O’Neill will be held in a secure unit for treatment and will not be released until it is deemed safe to do so.

Under cross-examination by Mr. MacCreanor, Dr. However, Devine, who questioned O’Neill on behalf of the defense, admitted that “given the nature of the learning disability, the condition is never expected to improve.”

After hearing the doctor’s affidavit and reading accounts by him and another psychiatrist, both of whom agreed, Judge Lynch issued the hospital order indefinitely. Lurgan man Conor O’Neill dragged a store clerk into a storeroom and subjected her to a horrific rape attack

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