Karate brute who sexually assaulted college student outside nightclub jailed for six years

A KARATE champ who sexually assaulted a college student outside a nightclub and carried her up the road to further attack her has been jailed for six years.

Bagrat Kudzievi, of Albert Road, Cork city — who was living in Ireland illegally — has been ordered to return to his native Georgia on his release from custody.

Sexual assault survivor Rachel McElroy

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Sexual assault survivor Rachel McElroyCredit: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
Bagrat Kudzievi

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Bagrat KudzieviCredit: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

The 29-year-old was convicted at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin in early November following a trial where he faced two counts of the sexual assault of Rachel McElroy at locations in Cork city centre on the evening of October 19, 2019.

The victim was just 18 when the attack took place on what was her first college night out with friends.

Ms McElroy, who watched the sentencing hearing by video link in Cork, said she wanted to be identified in media reports about the case.

Ms Justice Tara Burns, who sentenced Kudzievi at the Central Criminal Court, told Ms McElroy she had experienced “every young woman’s worst nightmare”.

The court heard that CCTV showed Rachel falling inside the venue and struggling to walk outside the nightclub.

Ms Justice Burns said Rachel had sat beside Kudzievi in the smoking area at 10.20pm on the night of the assault. Seven minutes later, he walked her to an alcove and sexually assaulted her.

The court heard Kudzievi then lifted Ms McElroy up and carried her across a bridge and put her on a footpath. Ms Justice Burns said the defendant started a “grinding motion” on top of the victim.

Bouncers, who were concerned for the welfare of the young woman, then separated the pair.

The court heard Ms McElroy was hugely impacted by what had occurred to her.

Ms Justice Burns said: “She ended up dropping out of college, losing her confidence and feeling empty and lost. He (the defendant) subjected her to degrading behaviour.”

Ms Justice Burns jailed Kudzievi for seven years with one year suspended.

The sentence was backdated to October 2019 when Kudzievi first entered custody in relation to the matter. He had claimed the incident was consensual.

He will leave the jurisdiction upon his release from custody having been ordered to do so by the court.

NO SYMPATHY

Detective Garda Donal Daly said the defendant moved to Ireland three years ago and lived under a Polish identity.

Defence barrister Tom Creed, SC, said his client was a former national champion of karate in Georgia as well as a silver medallist at European championships.

Speaking outside the court in Cork, Ms McElroy stated that she decided to waive her right to anonymity in order to reach other people who may have suffered similar trauma to hers.

She said: “It is OK to speak up about stuff like this. It is never OK to hold it in. It impacts so much on your life and I feel like talking about it, even to strangers, helps me a lot and has lifted a lot of weight off my shoulders.”

She said of her attacker: “To take something from someone’s life that they will never be able to get back. It was a horrible thing to do. For that man I have no sympathy. I am very disgusted.”

Ms McElroy admitted that she was hurt that some girls — not known to her — had decided to record what the defendant was doing to her outside the nightclub instead of seeking help.

She said: “I was disgusted in that. They could have helped or pulled us apart. But they would rather take a video and put it all over social media.”

Ms McElroy said she was relieved her attacker received a lengthy sentence, adding: “The sentence is a better outcome than I expected. I’m very happy. I’m walking out of here today, and he is not.”

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