We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Cork Courthouse. Alamy Stock Photo

'I thought I was going to die': Woman speaks of moment she was sexually assaulted in park

The woman was attacked in St Colman’s Park in Fermoy.

A WOMAN HAS told a court that she thought she was about to die as she was beaten in a sexual assault as she walked her dog in a north Cork park.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, delivered a victim impact statement this morning at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork.

Vadim Veste, 29, of Clancy Street, Fermoy, Co Cork had pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the woman on the 7 November last in St Coleman’s Park, Fermoy and with assault causing harm on the same date.

In court this morning, in the sentence hearing of Veste, she described the moment she was attacked. 

“I was on my usual walk with my dog – it was my normal routine and I’d listen to music on my headphones.

“Someone came from behind and put their hand over my mouth, I tried to resist, I tried to fight,” she said. 

She described how she was pushed to the ground and how she kicked out at the attacker who then put a woolen hat into her mouth – she said she was struggling to breath.

“I remember thinking I was going to die, I could feel my breathing stop and I thought of my daughter,” she explained. 

The victim said that she struggled to get one hand free and she screamed for help but she said at this moment the attacker tried to put his hand across her mouth to stop her.

“Thank god two guys heard me scream – thank god someone came to my rescue,” she added. 

The woman said that she has not walked in the area since the attack because she is fearful that she will be attacked again.

She paid tribute to the gardaí who investigated the incident and pleaded with the judge to jail the accused. 

Veste was charged is contrary to Section 2 of the Criminal Law Rape Amendment Act 1990, as amended by Section 37 of the Sex Offender Act 2000.

The Moldovan national, who also has Romanian citizenship, also pleaded to a charge that on the 7 of November last at St Coleman’s Park in Fermoy he assaulted a female causing her harm contrary to Section 3 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997. 

Garda investigation

The court heard from Detective Garda David Barry of Fermoy Garda Station that the woman was walking her dog in Saint Colman’s Park in Fermoy at 6.40pm on the evening of the incident. 

Barry said that during the attack Veste put a woolen hat in the victim’s mouth to stop her screaming.

He pinned her to the ground using his knees on her arms and upper body – he then reached down and touched her genital area.

He said she scratched and bit the suspect – and in the struggle the hat came out of her mouth and she screamed for help. Two men who were exercising nearby came to her aid. 

As the men approached the suspect fled taking the victim’s mobile phone with him. 

Barry said that the victim was taken to hospital for treatment and received a forensic examination at the local Sexual Assault Treatment Unit. 

During this examination skin from the attacker was found under her finger nails – this proved critical to identifying the accused. 

The gardaí identified the attacker and searched his home where they found a woolen hat which also contained DNA from the victim. 

Veste was arrested just days after the incident and after initially claiming the incident was due to a row over the dog he then admitted to the sexual assault. 

He was charged and has been remanded in custody since then.Barry told Mr Justice Paul McDermott that the accused had been released from custody in his native Moldova some months before the attack in Fermoy. 

He had travelled to Ireland to be with his mother who was living and working in Fermoy – he was working in a meat factory.

Barry said that he had obtained previous convictions from Interpol for Veste from Moldova – these included the sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl.

He also had convictions separately for a burglary offence and possession of drugs for his own use. 

Defence application

Defence barrister, Seamus Roche, SC, told the court that the solicitor for the accused had only recently received the details of the convictions. 

He made an application for a psychological report to determine “the motivations” of the accused. 

Mr Justice McDermott agreed and said that a report was “sensible thing to do given the nature of the offence”.  

The judge ordered a probation report also and adjourned the case for sentence until 12 June.

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.