District Court jury finds 55-year-old man guilty of 2007 Bunbury rape

After a four-day trial in Bunbury District Court, a jury has found a 55-year-old man guilty of raping a woman more than 10 years ago.

The court heard the victim and her husband had attended a wedding at the Lord Forrest Hotel in Bunbury on Saturday, November 24, 2007. 

The pair argued over personal matters during the event. The couple then left the venue before walking through Bunbury and continuing their argument. 

They continued to argue into the early hours of Sunday, November 25, before splitting up and heading in separate directions. 

Concerned for her own safety, the victim followed the lights in the area. 

While walking past a chemist, the victim then saw a man standing across the road. 

She then walked across a nearby oval before being grabbed by a male, dragged to the side of the oval and sexually penetrated by her attacker. 

The victim received cuts, bruises and minor injuries during the assault. 

A taxi driver and two passengers then saw the victim on the road and took her to Bunbury Hospital, while police followed. 

While looking for her around Bunbury, the victim’s husband received a phone call saying she was in hospital.

Her clothes were placed in paper bags and police took specimens to be used as evidence. 

Pathwest initially could not find a match from the semen found on her dress.

During a cold case review in 2016, a test through the Y chromosome database from Pathwest linked the samples to Kiernan Donnelly’s deceased father. 

Police received samples from all four of Mr Donnelly’s sons, with the sample taken from 55-year-old Kiernan providing a DNA match to the 2007 samples.

He denied being involved.

During his trial, the court heard evidence from nurses, doctors, police, and the taxi driver involved in the 2007 incident, as well as the DNA evidence.

The man sat motionless in the courtroom while the verdict was read out. 

Judge Chris Stevenson said Donnelly would not receive a harsher penalty for taking the matter to trial.

The prosecution submitted Donnelly should not be granted bail before being sentenced because he would likely receive an immediate and lengthy term of imprisonment.

Judge Stevenson refused bail.

Donnelly will be sentenced in Perth on February 16, with his lawyer to provide a written statement and the prosecution to present a victim impact statement.