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‘Obnoxious and entitled’ Craigavon man sentenced for sexually assaulting two women at house party

One of the victims woke to find the defendant touching her, with his hand down her pyjamas and inside her pants, after they had attended a house party in Lurgan

Brendan McMullan

A Craigavon man with a “remarkably high IQ” has been told by a judge “to remedy his ways” as he was this week sentenced for sexually assaulting two young women.

Brendan McMullan, 21, of Carrigart Manor, was handed a seven-year sexual offences prevention order and placed on probation for three years for sexually assaulting two friends following a house party in the early hours of Sunday, February 2, 2020.

The then 19-year-old had been one of a group of males who made their way back to a property in Lurgan following a night out.

Prosecution barrister Nicola Auret explained that the two victims in the case had returned to the same property, which belonged to one of their friends, a short time prior.

At the house, the defendant spoke to the two victims over a period of time and was “behaving in a flirtatious way”, asking one of the victims if he could kiss her while touching the other victim’s arm.

Ms Auret told the court how Victim B started to feel tired and went upstairs to sleep in her friend’s bedroom at around 3am, where she changed into a pair of pyjamas – over her underwear – and went to sleep in the double bed.

Victim A remained in the kitchen for about another hour before going into the living room with the intention of sleeping on the sofa.

Ms Auret outlined that three of the males remained in this room – including the defendant.

“[Victim A] lay down on one of the sofas,” said Ms Auret. “The defendant was lying on a nearby sofa; he reached across and touched her knee, sliding his hand up towards her groin. She removed his hand and told him to stop but he repeated this three or four times, each time she told him no.

“The other males in the room told him to stop. Eventually she changed places with one of the other males.”

She continued: “[The homeowner then] came into the room and saw the defendant going to sleep on the floor, so she told him he could sleep in a bed upstairs.

“Around 15 minutes later she saw him asleep on top of the covers in her room and tried, but was unable, to wake him. This was the same room as [Victim B] who was awoken out of a deep sleep by the defendant…..who was leaning over her on the bed, with his right hand down her pyjamas and pants, touching her vagina.

“She screamed at him ‘what the f*** are you doing?’ and pushed him off. She ran into another room and woke [her friend] up and told her what had happened.”

McMullan was subsequently put out of the house.

Ms Auret added: “[Victim B] was very upset; she contacted her boyfriend who came and took her home. The police were then contacted and the defendant was arrested a short time later; he was interviewed later that day and also on July 31.

“During interview he denied the offences. In his first interview he stated he didn’t touch either girl, that he talked to them, but went home because he couldn’t find anywhere to sleep.

“In his second interview he added that one of the girls in the house came downstairs and started calling him a rapist and he continued to deny the offences and claim to have a clear recollection of the night.”

Defence barrister Gavyn Cairns said his client was “ashamed” and his actions are “an abhorrence for him”, adding that he “was a man of some promise; perhaps might still be a man of some promise”.

“This is a man with a high IQ; he did well in his A-Levels….and went on to study Sports Studies at UUJ, studies which were torpedoed as a result of these matters becoming public knowledge; just into his second term he had to effectively abandon those studies and return home.”

He added: “He characterised his drinking at the time in a very candid way. He felt there were some inadequacies subjectively felt in his own mind and he would use alcohol as a coping mechanism in order to permit him to engage in the very limited contact he had with the opposite sex.”

Mr Cairns said the incident has had “a nuclear effect” on the defendant and his family who are “disgusted by his actions”.

He countered that this too “will have had a very profound affect on both complainants – more profound on the second victim”.

“Mr McMullan is ashamed and has shown remorse – and through the auspicious of probation – has apologised to them. It seems [defendants] feel sorry and remorseful for the situation they have found themselves in, often literally and figuratively, by their own hand, but where Mr McMullan is concerned that appears to be a genuine remorse, not simply by the plight he has found himself in by his own actions.”

In passing sentence, Judge Patrick Lynch QC, said: “It appears apparent you were heavily intoxicated and it’s also apparent you were making a total nuisance of yourself….when you have alcohol taken on board you seem to have an attributed sense of entitlement so far as females in your company are concerned – that is a very, very worrying aspect of this case.

“It’s perfectly clear, to put it colloquially, you are an obnoxious drunk and that you’re not capable of taking drink and behaving yourself, so the only alternative is not to drink to excess – or possibly not at all.

“Obviously you’re a highly intelligent person; it seems that undoubtedly if you had pursued an academic career you would do very well; indeed given an IQ of 145 – that is remarkably high.”

He concluded: “You’re getting a big chance here Mr McMullan, you have to remedy your ways. I recommend, if you can’t drink and behave yourself, then don’t drink; that’s the only solution.”

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