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Thursday 23 January, 2020
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Man who sexually assaulted flatmate while she was sleeping jailed

The 29-year-old Italian man pleaded guilty.

Image: Shutterstock.com

A MAN WHO sexually assaulted his flatmate while she was sleeping on a couch has been jailed for two and a half years.

The 29-year-old Italian man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, pleaded guilty to sexual assault of the woman at the flat in Dublin city on 28 April 2018.

Detective Garda Anne McGowan told Fionnuala O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, that the woman and man became friends after she began sharing a flat with him.

They had an intimate relationship for a short time and when it ended the woman began a relationship with another man. The garda told the court that the woman came home one night and was sitting on the couch with the defendant.

She fell asleep next to him and awoke to find the man sexually penetrating her without her consent. It took some time for her to awaken fully and for what was happening “to fully sink in”, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.

He ejaculated on the couch and then said sorry to her. She went to bed and the following day she texted him and told she was shocked at his actions.

He replied by text, saying “I’m so so sorry, I’m so ashamed of myself, I haven’t been able to concentrate on anything, I wish I could undo my actions.”

The victim went to gardaí and the man later made a statement to gardaí claiming the sexual activity was consensual. His counsel Orla Crowe SC submitted that her client had panicked and later admitted his actions.

She handed in a number of character references, including ones from female friends of the man. A woman came to court with the man, who was out on bail, for the sentencing yesterday. 

Judge Martin Nolan said that he could accept as genuine the man’s expressions of shame and remorse. He said he was unlikely to re-offend but has no previous convictions.

But he said “the fall from grace was so severe” that a jail sentence was necessary. He said the man carried out two reprehensible acts of sexual assault on the woman and these left her severely traumatised.

Reading from her own victim impact statement the woman said that her life would never be the same again and that the attack took all her dignity and femininity from her.

She said being subjected to the forensic medical examination left her with no privacy. She said nobody understood how badly she had been injured because the psychological damage was unmeasureable.

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Declan Brennan

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