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Brutal rapist jailed for 7 years

FERGUS KENNEDY: grabbed his victim by the throat
FERGUS KENNEDY: grabbed his victim by the throat

A 56-year-old man has been jailed for seven years for the brutal rape of a woman who went to him for help with her problems.

After attacking his 36-year-old victim, Fergus Kennedy told her: “You had better phone the police, because I’ve just raped you.”

Yet, he pleaded not guilty to the charge and forced the woman to relive her terrifying ordeal in the witness box.

Kennedy, of Walderslade Road, Chatham, was told by a judge: "You subjected her to the humiliation and violation of an act of rape.”

Maidstone Crown Court heard how the roofing contractor pushed the victim into his bedroom, pinned her down and grabbed her around the throat. He then ripped off her clothes, ignoring her pleas to stop.

Rose Burns, prosecuting, said Kennedy and the woman had known each other for some time and both would drink regularly at a Chatham pub.

She had been having difficulties with her boyfriend and was looking after her sick father. She also had financial problems and asked Kennedy’s help.

“She spoke to him on the telephone and asked if she could have a chat,” said Miss Burns. “She knew that Mr Kennedy was having difficulties with his own partner.”

When she arrived at his home she found he had been drinking. He offered her a drink and she accepted.

She was about to leave after an hour or so when Kennedy suddenly got hold of her wrists and pushed her into the bedroom.

“She could tell by this stage what he wanted,” said the prosecutor. “He continued, despite the fact that she brought her knee up to try to push him away.

“He put his hands on her throat, his thumbs to the centre, and applied force. He punched her in the face.”

She repeatedly told him they were “just friends” but he ripped at her clothes and had sex with her. She begged him to stop.

During the attack on April 8 last year, a chain bracelet on the woman’s wrist was snapped and an earring was broken. She drove home in tears and a neighbour helped her to contact a friend.

The police were called and a medical examination revealed swelling and tenderness to her left ear lobe, red marks to the front of her neck and bruising on her left wrist.

The woman said of the incident: “I asked him what he was doing and to stop being stupid. He said: ‘Shut up, bitch’. He still had hold of my wrists and then he punched me in the left side of the face. Then I knew what his intention was.”

Denying rape, Kennedy claimed in evidence that the woman consented to sex. He said there had been “just flirting and whatever” before he picked her up from a chair and carried her into the bedroom.

There was no question of her objecting, he said, adding. “I still maintain it was sex by agreement.”

He admitted gripping her wrists but said he did not think he was holding her particularly hard.

Kennedy said the woman “looked a bit thunderous” after he said he hoped others would not hear about it at the pub.

He admitted that he fancied the woman and told her while having sex: “I’ve waited for this for so long.”

Kennedy added: “It was another bedpost notch, I suppose. It was just a one-night stand and that’s what I expected it to be.”

After he was convicted by the jury of seven men and five women, Michael Haynes, defending, said there was only enough violence used to commit the offence.

“There were no significant injuries to the victim,” he said. “Perhaps, most importantly, it would appear this must have been opportunistic and, no doubt, contributed to by drink he had consumed.”

Mr Haynes said the court had heard about Kennedy’s inappropriate behaviour towards women and it must have deteriorated into something more.

Judge Michael Lawson, QC, said it must have been obvious to Kennedy that the woman was at a low ebb at the time. She was at her wits end about how she was going to pay her rent.

The judge told Kennedy: “You knew on that day that you had committed rape, because you told her that she had better phone the police ‘because I have just raped you’.

“It is a pity that your realisation on that day was not carried forward to this court. You took advantage of a person who was emotionally vulnerable.

“She was a woman who was much younger than yourself, who regarded you as a shoulder to cry on, a father figure perhaps.”

Kennedy will remain on the sex offenders’ register for life.

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