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Man who asked hospital patient to be 'girlfriend' before vicious attack is jailed

After the attack at St Patrick's University Hospital, Alan Joyce shouted back at his victim that she was "a whore, a prostitute"

St Patrick's University Hospital

Sonya McLean

A man who attacked a woman as she was walking has been jailed for two and half years.

The victim, who was an inpatient in St Patrick's University Hospital in Dublin, was just outside the security gates of the hospital at around 11pm when Alan Joyce (27) ran up behind her and asked her if she wanted to be his girlfriend.

Joyce put his arms around the woman's shoulders.

Dublin Circuit Criminal heard she shouted at him to stop touching her but he held her with force.

He said to her: "I want a girlfriend. Will you be my girlfriend?"

The woman again said "no" but Joyce struggled with her, knocking her to the ground, the court heard.

Her clothes came undone during the scuffle and exposed her breasts.

Joyce tried to get on top of her but the woman continued to kick out at him and screamed.

She managed to kick Joyce in the stomach and continued to scream for help.

The court heard Joyce eventually ran off and shouted back at the woman that she was "a whore, a prostitute" and "nobody likes you anyway".

The woman was left with minor cuts to her breasts, forehead and wrist.

Joyce of Pim Street, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to the woman on Steeven's Lane, Kilmainham on June 14, 2017.

His 10 previous convictions are mostly for public order and drink related offences.

A bench warrant issued previously for Joyce, when he failed to appear for a court hearing and he has been remanded in custody since it was executed last January.

Detective Garda Colm Reynolds told Pieter Le Vert BL, prosecuting, that the woman was "really scared and terrified" and "felt completely unsafe".

She dialled 999 as Joyce ran off and security from the hospital came to her assistance.

She later gave gardaí a description of her attacker and Joyce was identified after gardaí viewed footage from nearby CCTV cameras.

During interview Joyce accepted that he was trying to chat the woman up but said he did not think he had asked her for a kiss.

He said he had been drinking heavily and struggles to remember things when he has been drinking.

"I think I went in for a hug. I get like that when I drink," Joyce told gardaí before he said he was trying to get the woman's number.

He admitted he may have shouted a few things back at her as he walked away.

A victim impact statement was handed into court but not read into the record.

Vincent Heneghan SC, defending, accepted that it was a serious offence that clearly had an impact on the victim.

He asked that the court consider suspending a proportion of the sentence on the condition that his client engage with the Probation Services as he said Joyce "could do with the benefit of their guidance in his life".

The judge accepted evidence that Joyce had been intoxicated on the night but said that was "no real excuse".

"He knows himself when he takes drink that it causes him difficulty but yet he continues drinking and gets himself into trouble with the gardaí."

He jailed Joyce for two and half years and backdated the sentence to when he first went into custody in January.

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