Sex offender followed Dublin woman into her home and demanded her underwear
A convicted sex offender who harassed his neighbour by following her into her apartment and ordering her to give him her underwear has been jailed for 18 months.
Padraig Hopkins (41), who has been on the Sex Offenders Register since he was sentenced to four years in prison in 2008 for a false imprisonment and a sexual assault charge, also took the woman’s bra and knickers from the laundry room in the apartment block and wore them before asking her what she thought.
Hopkins, of The Glen in Waterford, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to harassing Rutha Sventriata on June 26, 2014 at Leinster Road in Rathmines.
Garda Paul O’Hara told prosecuting counsel Fionnula O’Sullivan BL, that Ms Sventriata lived in the same apartment block as Hopkins. When she arrived home from work, she saw Hopkins at the front door.
He followed her into her apartment and screamed at her to give him her underwear. He then ran away when she screamed at him.
Gda O’Hara told the court that prior to this incident Ms Sventriata went to collect her laundry in the basement when she saw Hopkins wearing her underwear, causing her to scream at him.
Hopkins was arrested and admitted he followed her into her apartment and said he had wanted to tell her that he was moving out and she had no reason to be afraid of him. He admitted he had been stealing her underwear from the laundry room for around a month.
Judge Martin Nolan noted that Hopkins had a difficult personality and his behaviour towards the injured party in this case had been “insidious and threatening.”
The judge imposed a three year sentence with the final 18 months suspended.
He told the court that had the facts in this case wouldn't have seemed so serious if taken in isolation, but he had to consider Hopkins's previous sexual assault conviction when sentencing.
Hopkins, who has 16 previous convictions, claimed he was sexually assaulted as a child by a now deceased neighbour and that female underwear formed part of the abuse he suffered.
Defence counsel, Kevin McGrave BL, said the reason for his offending was rooted in acts committed on him as a child.
Gda O’Hara agreed that no threats or violence were used against Ms Sventriata and that Hopkins said he had been drinking all night before the offence.
Mr McGrave said the defendant was keen to get into a programme to receive regular treatment.
Judge Martin Nolan noted the psychological report showed Hopkins to be a “very damaged human through no fault of his own.”
“He has been left scars of sexual abuse and he has reacted in a certain way,” said Judge Nolan, adding that “the public have a right to be protected.”
By Nicola Donnelly