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Dublin: 12°C Saturday 17 April 2021

Man jailed for four years for sexually assaulting homeless man

The judge said said the offences had been carried out in a public place in a “humiliating and degrading way”.

Image: PA

A CORK MAN who sexually assaulted a homeless man sleeping on the street has been jailed for four years.

William Dollard (30), who is also homeless, sexually assaulted the 61-year-old man as he lay on top of blankets on the street. The entire incident was captured on CCTV.

Dollard, of no fixed abode, was convicted at the Central Criminal Court last October of sexual assault and attempted anal rape of the 61-year-old man at a location in Co Cork on May 30, 2017.

The court heard Dollard had pleaded not guilty at trial and maintains his innocence.

He has 26 previous convictions mainly for drink-related public order offences and has been in custody since February 2019.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott noted among the aggravating features that the offences had been carried out on a defenceless and vulnerable intoxicated man who was trying to sleep on the street.

He said the offences had been carried out in a public place in a “humiliating and degrading way”.

Mr Justice McDermott noted Dollard was also a homeless man with alcohol abuse issues and that a psychologist’s report handed into court outlined he had “deep-seated and troubling problems”. He said Dollard was socially isolated from others including family members with very little support.

He took into account that the attempted anal rape had not been completed but said both offences were serious. He said the offences appeared spontaneous and not part of Dollard’s usual behaviour.

Mr Justice McDermott set a headline sentence of six years for the attempted anal rape and, taking into account the mitigation, imposed a sentence of five years and six months with the final 18 months suspended for two years. Conditions include not approaching or contacting the victim.

He imposed a concurrent sentence of two years for the sexual assault.

A local garda told Timothy O’Leary SC, prosecuting, that the older man was laying on a blanket on the street beside a doorway in the early hours of the morning when Dollard, who been observed in the area earlier, returned and lay down behind the man who appeared asleep.

The entire incident which lasted 11 minutes was captured on CCTV of a nearby premises and staff there informed Gardai. The court heard staff initially believed Dollard was attempting to steal from the man.

Dollard sexually assaulted the man and appeared to attempt to have sexual intercourse with him.

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The older man appeared lifeless throughout until gardai, altered by the staff, arrived.

The garda said the man did not make a complaint straight away as he was in shock and needed time to think about it.

In his victim impact statement that man said he suffered from flashbacks and found it upsetting walking past the area where it had happened. He said the trial had been difficult but he now wants to move on with his life.

The garda agreed with Blaise O’Carroll SC, defending, that Dollard had a serious problem with alcohol abuse and was under the influence of alcohol on the night. He said he had not known Dollard until this incident.

Mr O’Carroll said Dollard had attended UCC and studied archaeology and film production but suffered paranoia and a persecution complex that the world was against him. He handed forensic psychologist reports into court.

He said Dollard had pleaded not guilty and gave evidence at his trial. He said his client is convinced whoever did this was someone other than him.

About the author:

Fiona Ferguson

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