'could not breathe' | 

Man pleads guilty after violent sex assault on dog walker (50s) in Cork park

Vadim Veste travelled to Ireland just 18 days after being released from prison where he had served a sentence for raping a child (14)

Vadim Veste© Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Ralph RiegelIndependent.ie

A woman subjected to a violent sexual assault as she was out walking her dog in a Cork park said she thought she was going to die.

Vadim Veste (28), a dual Moldovan-Romanian national, pleaded guilty before the Central Criminal Court to aggravated sexual assault of the woman, who is aged in her 50s, as he attacked her from behind, placed his hand over her mouth, punched her and then violently wrestled her to the ground before placing his hand under her dress.

The Central Criminal Court heard Veste travelled to Ireland just 18 days after being released from prison where he had served a sentence for the rape of a minor.

Veste served a three year prison sentence for the rape of the 14-year-old girl who was known to him in Eastern Europe in July 2016.

He was released from custody on December 11, 2020 and travelled to Ireland to stay with a family member on December 29.

The 28-year-old also has convictions for drug and breaking and entering in his native country.

Veste of Clancy Street, Fermoy, Co Cork, had been working in a meat processing plant when he committed the aggravated sexual assault in the Cork park a year later.

He pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault of the woman at St Colman's Park in Fermoy, Co Cork, on November 7, 2021.

The woman fought for her life and Mr Justice Paul McDermott was told her screams attracted two men out walking in the park who then ran to the woman's aid.

In a harrowing victim impact statement, the woman told the court that she thought she was going to die.

The mother was out walking to her dog and listening to music on her headphones when suddenly she was attacked from behind by Veste who placed his hand over her mouth.

"I screamed, I begged and I pleaded with him to stop," she said.

But, despite her pleas, Veste wrestled her to the ground where he tried to place his hand inside her clothing.

The woman said she fought for her life on the dark night when she was also struck and forcibly pinned to the ground.

"I could not breathe," she said.

"I actually thought I was going to die. All I could do was keep thinking about my daughter."

Veste, who also struck the woman, forced his woolen hat into her mouth.

The woman said she was afraid she would suffocate.

But she managed to get one hand free and scratched his face.

When Veste drew back from her, she screamed loudly for help.

"He clenched his fist and put it into my mouth," she said.

"He tried to loosen my teeth. With all my strength I fought back."

"I didn't want to die. I was thinking about my little girl having to come to the pitch to identify my body."

"But he (Veste) keep squeezing my mouth and my nose. I couldn't breathe."

"Thank God I survived to be here today. He is a very, very dangerous man. I do believe he would have gone on to kill someone."

The woman said that, even when the two walkers came to her aid, Veste did not run away from the scene but rather walked calmly out of the park.

The woman also praised the gardaí including Detective Garda David Barry who led the subsequent investigation.

Since the incident, she said she has lost all confidence and is now wary of going out alone on dark evenings.

She was supported in court by family members and victim support groups.

Gardaí quickly identified Veste as a suspect and he was linked to the incident by genetic testing with his DNA found under the woman's fingernails and her DNA found on his hat.

Mr Justice McDermott was told that Veste has been in custody since November 11, 2021.

Veste pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault and appeared in court with the assistance of an interpreter.

Seamas Roche SC applied for sentencing to be adjourned to allow for the completion of a psychological report on his client.

Mr Justice McDermott said this was "a sensible thing" for the court to allow given Veste's previous history of a sexual offence.

He also ordered that a Probation and Welfare Service (PWS) report be compiled and that an interpreter be available for the sentencing hearing.

Sentencing of Veste - who did not speak during the was adjourned until the June 12 sitting of the Central Criminal Court in Cork.

He was remanded in ongoing custody.

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