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Beach sex beast faces eight years jail

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Tommy Hughes: court told of “a serious and sustained assault”. Photo: Andrew Downes.

A 32-year-old man who sexually assaulted a Spanish woman on the beach – just yards from the diving tower at Blackrock – on a Sunday afternoon, while covering his face with his t-shirt, has been remanded in custody to await psychological assessment prior to sentence.
Tommy Hughes, from Corbally, Cummer, Tuam, pleaded guilty before Galway Circuit Criminal Court last May to sexually assaulting the 26-year-old woman at Illifanamona Island – a scenic stretch of shoreline situated between the iconic Blackrock diving tower in Salthill and Silver Strand – on Sunday afternoon, October 13, 2013.
Sentencing was adjourned to Wednesday for psychological and psychiatric reports but the court heard that Hughes had not yet been assessed and further time was needed to obtain reports.
The court heard the young woman was sitting alone on the scenic but secluded beach at around 4.30pm when Hughes grabbed her from behind and simulated sex with her through her clothing.
He had pulled his t-shirt up over his face, while his penis was exposed.
The woman bravely fought off her attacker, biting him on his hand, arm and lower chest during what was described as “a serious and sustained assault”, by Garda Mark Cunniffe.
She was knocked to the ground as she successfully kept her tracksuit bottoms in place while the accused tried to pull them down on several occasions.
Hughes eventually ran off but later handed himself into Galway Garda Station in the city where he claimed he had tried to rob a woman earlier.
The woman, who has been living and working in Ireland for five years, read her own very detailed and emotive victim impact statement to the court.
“I know I will never be the same again. I thought I was going to be raped and killed that day. That will always be with me,” she sobbed.
Judge Rory McCabe said that if anyone was in any doubt about how much a sexual assault could impact on a victim then they only had to listen to the devastating account given by the victim in this instance.
“This was a sudden, serious and sustained assault which was at the very top of the scale of seriousness for this type of offence,” the judge said.
He said it warranted an 8-year jail sentence before mitigating or aggravating factors were even considered. He acceded to Mr Browne’s request to delay sentence until Hughes was expertly assessed.

For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Connacht Tribune tributes to loved ones

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These past few months have seen so many communities left to silently mourn family members and friends, whose funerals they would have attended in such numbers, were it not for the current Covid-19 restrictions.

But those that are gone have not been, and will not be, forgotten – which is why we want to open the pages of the Connacht Tribune to you to tell their stories.

If you’ve lost a loved one, whether to Covid-19 or not, or if your community or organization or sports club is mourning the death of a valued member and friend, you can email us your tribute and we will publish it in our papers.

CONNACHT TRIBUNE OBITUARY TRIBUTE

All you have to do it to click on the above link, and it will take you to a short set of questions which you can fill in – and then add whatever you feel tells the story of the life of your friend, family member or colleague.

You can email that with a photograph to us, to news@ctribune.ie or you can post it to ‘Obituaries’, Connacht Tribune, 21 Liosban Business Park – and please enclose a contact number in case we have any queries.

We sympathise with anyone who has lost a loved one at this awful time, particularly given that so many people were unable to mourn with them and their family in person – and we hope that this will help in some small way to show those family members that we are all united in grief, even from a distance.

This is an additional feature we are providing alongside our long-established weekly Family Notices section where loved ones are remembered immediately by Months Mind Notices and annual anniversary remembrances.  You can contact our team for further details at salesadmin@ctribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Gardaí seek help in locating missing man

Enda Cunningham

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Gardaí have sought help in locating a man missing in Galway since the end of December.
34-year-old Luke Davoren was last seen in the University Road area on December 30.

He is described as having fair hair, 6ft in height and having an athletic build. He was last seen wearing a grey hoody, brown leather jacket, blue jeans and brown leather boots. He also had a black back pack in his possession.

Gardaí and Luke’s family are very concerned for his welfare and have urged him to make contact.

Anyone with information, particularly any road users with dash cam footage of the Newcastle/University Road areas between 1am – 2am on December 30, is asked to contact Galway Garda Station on 091 538000.

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CITY TRIBUNE

‘Daredevil’ swimmers are a fatality waiting to happen

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – ‘Daredevil’ winter sea swimmers who dive or jump into the water in places like Blackrock during adverse weather are putting their own lives at risk – and possibly those of rescuers – by their actions, it was warned this week.

Water Safety Ireland have cautioned that the biggest single contributor to drownings in Ireland is what is known as ‘cold water shock’ – a condition caused by the sudden entry into a cold body of water.

There is now growing concern that a copycat trend is emerging with young people – without wet suits – diving or jumping into the sea in stormy or icy-cold weather.

Several people have been filmed on social media in the sea at Salthill during storms – with a number of them taking ‘running jumps’ off the diving tower at Blackrock.

Roger Sweeney, Deputy CEO of Water Safety Ireland, told the Galway City Tribune that people jumping into the sea during storms showed at best a reckless disregard for their own safety and in a worst-case scenario represented ‘a fatality waiting to happen’ for the jumpers – or the persons trying to rescue them.

“Jumping into cold water puts you at risk of cold shock which can result in immediate incapacitation and doing so in storm conditions can make it difficult to get back out of the water safely and promptly before hypothermia sets in.

“Hypothermia leads to the cooling of the muscles needed in the arms and legs to stay afloat. Drownings typically happen when someone over-estimates their ability and under-estimates the risks,” said Mr Sweeney.

Galway Lifeboat Operations Manager, Mike Swan, told the Galway City Tribune, that the key thing for all people who enjoyed the water and the sea was to carefully plan their exercise or hobby.

“Cold water shock is a real danger at this time of year for all swimmers. Be prepared – have your cap, ear plugs, mats, woolly cap [after leaving the water] and towels all in place. Check the weather forecast and check the tides – and never, ever just jump straight into the water during the colder season.”

(Photo: Diving into the water at Blackrock during Storm Bella in December)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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