Man who blamed rape of Rugby woman on a demon repeatedly interrupted judge to protest his innocence

A ‘twisted’ man who violently raped a woman he had met through a dating website after spiking her drink with ecstasy continued to protest his innocence as he was jailed.

Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 10:33 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 10:34 am
Darren Callaghan.

Darren Callaghan, who had bizarrely tried to persuade his victim she had been possessed by a demon in her house, had denied administering a noxious substance with intent to stupefy, assault and rape.

But Callaghan, who had left his victim with no fewer than 80 injuries during the attack at her Rugby home, was found guilty of all three charges following a trial at Warwick Crown Court.

Following an adjournment for a report to be prepared on him, Callaghan (48) of Bonchurch Road, Southsea, Hampshire, was given a 16-year extended prison sentence.

He will serve at least two-thirds of that in jail, and will only be freed before completing the whole term if the Parole Board considers it safe to do so.

And Callaghan will then be on licence for any period that remains of the 16 years and for a further five years, as well as having to register as a sex offender for life.

Prosecutor Adrian Fleming had told the jury Callaghan had met the woman through a dating app and drove to her home in Rugby, bringing with him some MDMA, or ecstasy.

“He put it in her drink without her knowledge and, having done that, he assaulted her causing a number of injuries, and he raped her while she was in a state partly brought about by the administering of the drug.”

At her home he had become ‘a little boisterous’ and got a bit physical, trying to pull her trousers down, but she got him to calm down, and they had a drink and went out on the town.

They visited various pubs before they got a taxi back to her home, by which time she was pretty drunk, and when they got back Callaghan made them both a Jack Daniels and Coke.

“She thought her drink tasted a bit funny, and soon after she began to feel unwell and had some sort of seizure. She recalls falling down, and her memories after that are vague.

“It’s the Crown’s case that he had put MDMA in her drink. She is very clear she did not take it knowingly.

“The next thing she recalls is waking late the following morning, naked apart from her bra, and Callaghan lying next to her, naked.

“She was aware she had injuries all over her body, and she asked if he had punched her to the face.

“He said no, and that she was possessed and that there was a demon in her house. But it’s the Crown’s case that this ghost had nothing to do with what happened,” commented Mr Fleming.

“She says Callaghan appeared to be trying to blame her injuries on the supernatural. The inescapable fact is that somehow she got very real injuries all over her body – and it was nothing to do with ghosts.”

Callaghan said during the trial that the woman had had a seizure, which was ‘like something out of the Exorcist,’ and that he looked after her and wrapped her in a duvet, after which, he claimed, she had become ‘sex-crazed.’

At the resumed hearing Kim Preston, defending, said: “He feels passionately and indignantly about his version of events. He had a distortion in his mind about whether she was able to consent during the intercourse which took place.

“This defendant did not set out that night to go to her home and assault and rape her.”

But Judge Andrew Lockhart QC interjected: “That may be your assessment. You must be mindful that my assessment is different, and the jury’s finding is very different.”

Miss Preston suggested it had not been a violent assault, but the judge observed: “There were 80 injuries. It is one of the most appalling pieces of violence associated with rape that the court has witnessed in many years.”

Jailing Callaghan, who kept interrupting loudly to protest his innocence, Judge Lockhart told him: “On any basis, your actions have as good as ruined her life.

“You met her on a dating website. You brought drugs with you and were keen to give them to her. It was a powerful form of MDMA, and you well knew it would have a massive impact on someone not used to taking it.

“You gave her such drugs with a view that she would be incapacitated. This was to be sex for your own perverse and twisted desire, and sex where you could beat and abuse her.

“You said she had had a seizure and that her home was possessed. This was a cruel aspect of your behaviour. You showed yourself to be a dangerous and manipulative man.”