A Lousiburgh man who tried to sexually assault an American student staying in the town, gave up his attempt when a couple staying in a nearby cottage heard screams in the early hours of the morning and came to the young woman’s rescue.
Tommy Kilcoyne of Shrawee, Cregganbawn, Louisburgh, was before Westport District Court, charged with attempted sexual assault and false imprisonment of the US national – whose name was released in court – on April 21 this year.
On the night of the incident the victim had visited two pubs in the town and had consumed four pints of Smithwicks, firstly with a friend who had to leave, and then with various acquaintances. It was while speaking to a mutual acquaintance around 2.15am that morning, that the victim was first introduced to her assailant.
The victim set-off on the short journey home to The Cottages in Louisburgh at 2.36am. It was while crossing The Square in the centre of the town she first noticed the defendant. She was conscious of his presence and walked briskly, before turning to see him following her. She then shouted ‘leave me alone’ before being knocked to the ground by Mr Kilcoyne, who tried to undo her trousers with one hand while standing over her. He was unable to do this and began rubbing her genital area outside her clothes while holding her hands with his other hand. In the struggle, she began screaming and kicked Mr Kilcoyne in the crotch. It was then that her panic alerted the couple in the nearby cottage, who scared Mr Kilcoyne away, and took her into their house to comfort her and call the Gardaí.
During the course of the investigation, over 30 statements were taken. It was established that the defendant had been in Louisburgh since 9.10pm that evening. He visited several public houses and was observed by people at stages throughout the night, including by a taxi driver, whom he called on two occasions before the incident looking for a lift home. The driver was busy one time and was not comfortable bringing him on his own on the other occasion, as he was intoxicated and they had witnessed him kicking a phone box earlier in the night. He called the same driver three more times after the attempted sexual assault looking for a lift home, but did not know where he was. It was stated in court that the act was not premeditated, as the defendant had never met the victim before and had tried to make his way home earlier in the night.
Mr Kilcoyne, represented by solicitor Dermot Morahan, was described in court as being 33 year of age, living at home with his elderly parents and five siblings, and as being from a family who had faced big difficulties of late when some of his siblings were the victims of serious crime. Mr Morahan told the court that his client left school after transition year as he did not like school, and had held a job in a shop in Westport before leaving it in 2003. He has not worked since, is in receipt of a carer’s allowance for his father and one of his brothers, has never been outside the country or had a girlfriend, and has an occasional social life – which consists of having a few drinks in Louisburgh. Judge Mary Devins stated that Mr Kilcoyne’s actions were a classic example of those of an inadequate person, who is intellectually and socially deficient, and lives in difficult family circumstances.
“That is no excuse,” she said, “he chose to drink that much on the night.” She added that an innocent visitor to Ireland had been through a traumatic experience that will no doubt put her off the country.
In court, the defendant expressed remorse for his actions, and was told by Judge Devins that if he steps out of line again he ‘won’t have a chance’. She dismissed the charge of false imprisonment saying it was the incorrect charge and didn’t warrant discussion in this instance.
Mr Kilcoyne was convicted of attempted sexual assault and remanded on continuing bail for 12 months for sentencing. The case is scheduled to be finalised on July 4, 2013 – Independence Day in the USA. A cash bail sum of €5,000 had been lodged in the High Court at an earlier stage in this case, and Judge Devins ordered that this is to be made immediately available to the victim – now back in America – to do with it as she pleases.