A Mayo man who was found guilty of imprisoning and physically assaulting his ex-girlfriend has been sentenced to four years in jail.
The 29-year-old man had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape and sexual assault of the woman in Co Mayo on January 9 and January 10, 2009.
He had also denied a charge of false imprisonment and two charges of assault causing harm to the woman on the same dates. After a nine-day trial the jury found him guilty of these charges but not guilty of the rape and sexual assault.
The victim, who was 18 at the time, said the man came to her house and locked her in a room before raping her. She said he punched her, flung her against the bedroom wall and tried to strangle her.
She said she was screaming for help. She said each time she ran for the window he would fling her back on the bed or else put his hands up to her throat and try to strangle her.
She said at one point he punched her, breaking her glasses and causing her nose to bleed all over her face. She then saw a light from a torch outside and managed to get to the bedroom window and jump out.
She told told prosecuting counsel Conor Devally SC : “It was the guards. I jumped out as fast as I could. I was so glad to see them. I grabbed on to one of the guard’s arm really tight.”
When questioned, the man denied the assault charges and told gardaí that the sex was consensual and that she had fallen off a bed during a row.
In a victim-impact statement read to the court before sentencing, the now 22-year-old victim said she is seeing a counsellor as a result of the attacks.
She said at one stage after the incident she was so low she wouldn’t leave her home and that she is still terrified when someone touches her. She also said the man approached her at her place of work after the incident.
Garda John O’Connor told prosecuting counsel Conor Devally SC the victim had been struck in the head and face and thrown against a wall or a headboard of a bed.
She was left with bruises to her face and head and a swollen eye and face.
She also had bruising on her arms and neck.
Mícheál O’Higgins SC, defending, said his client was extremely remorseful for his actions on the night and regretted causing the victim injury.
The court heard that he has 27 previous convictions, including drug possession, possession of knives and road-traffic offences, and that he has not worked in years.
Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan imposed an overall sentence of four years but suspended the last two.