Limerick sex attacker jailed for four years

Dublin Courts of Criminal Justice
Dublin Courts of Criminal Justice

A Limerick man who grabbed a woman as she was walking alone at night and sexually assaulted her against a wall has been jailed for four years.

Jonathan Colbert (27) of Hyde Avenue, Prospect, Limerick pleaded guilty on the morning of his Central Criminal Court trial to aggravated sexual assault in the city on October 13, 2013.

His previous convictions include assault, criminal damage, public order offences and attempted robbery.

Garda Donna Ryan told Gerry Clarke SC, prosecuting, that the woman had been walking home from a night out when Colbert grabbed her and dragged her into a nearby estate. Colbert pinned the woman, who was in her 40s, against a wall and banged her head off it three times.

He took down his trousers and underwear and tried to undo the woman's belt, as she screamed for help.

The court heard that a female resident in the estate contacted gardaí after she heard the screaming.

The woman was still screaming and struggling with Colbert when gardaí arrived on the scene. He pretended to make a phone call and then ran off.

Gda Ryan told Mr Clarke that Colbert was too intoxicated to be interviewed immediately after arrest, but that he later claimed his victim had engaged in consensual sex acts with him.

Commenting on the lack of a victim impact statement, Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan said the victim was “trying to put it all behind her and doesn't want to be reminded by events”.

Passing sentence, Ms Justice Heneghan said an aggravating factor was the physical harm caused to the victim's face.

She also noted Colbert's “lack of genuine remorse” and that a psychologist's report suggested he had a low level of empathy.

Accepting his low to moderate risk of re-offending and difficult personal circumstances as mitigating factors, Ms Justice Heneghan recommended that Colbert take part in courses to help his rehabilitation and backdated his sentence to November 2013 when he first entered custody.