An Irish woman who was raped by her boyfriend while she slept has won €1million in damages because the sex attack left lasting psychological scars.
Niamh Ní Dhomhnaill, from Dublin, was sexually assaulted by her then Norwegian partner, Magnus Meyer Hustveit, during their relationship almost a decade ago.
The victim claimed her previous dream life as a teacher was left in tatters and that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder caused her to ‘feel unsafe everywhere’ and she struggled to trust even her own parents.
This downward spiral culminated in an attempt to take her own life by taking an overdose of pills.
In an emotionally-charged High Court case, a psychiatrist told the jury the extent of the psychological bruising was ‘nine to nine-and-a-half’ severity out of 10.
And Ms Dhomhnaill welled up as she told the court: ‘There has never been a part of me that has not been profoundly impacted,’ according to the Irish Independent.
Hustveit, from Oslo, was jailed for 15 months in 2016 after the Court of Appeal overturned his previous seven-year suspended sentence because of its ‘undue lenience’.
The attacker had pleaded guilty to one count of rape and one count of sexual assault against Ms Dhomhnaill between 2011 and 2012 when the couple were in their twenties.
The relatively short sentence – the average rape jail-time is five to seven years – was credited to Hustveit’s voluntary return to Ireland to face charges as well as his lack of criminal record and life as a good citizen in Norway.
But the case entered the civil courts when Ms Dhomhnaill sought compensation, claiming Hustveit’s actions had flipped her life upside-down.
Yesterday, the jury found in her favour and she was awarded €350,000 general damages, €400,000 aggravated damages and €250,000 punitive damages, according the newspaper.
Ms Dhomhnaill and Hustveit began their sexual relationship in May 2011, with the couple moving in to an apartment in Belvedere Place by the September.
She severed ties in April 2012, after claiming Hustveit admitted raping her while she was asleep, and confessing he had done this several times.
She also told how she received a ‘quite chilling’ email from him explaining how he would touch her.
Trying to move on from the rape which has dogged her for years, Ms Dhomhnaill has since moved to London to study psychology.