Limerick man jailed for sexually assaulting woman in cul-de-sac

Aoife Nic Ardghail

Reporter:

Aoife Nic Ardghail

The man was jailed for four and a half years at the Central Criminal Court
A LIMERICK city man who sexually assaulted a middle-aged woman in a laneway on the southside of the city has been sentenced to four years in jail.

A LIMERICK city man who sexually assaulted a middle-aged woman in a laneway on the southside of the city has been sentenced to four years in jail.

Jonathan Colbert, aged 27, of Hyde Avenue, Prospect, was due to go on trial earlier this year after he initially pleaded not guilty to a charge of aggravated sexual assault.

However, at the Central Criminal Court in March, he dramatically pleaded guilty after a jury of 11 men and one woman had been selected for the trial.

The victim, who was aged 48 at the time, was attacked at a cul-de-sac near Hyde Avenue, Prospect on October 13, 2013.

During a sentencing hearing, last month, Garda Donna Ryan told Gerry Clarke SC, prosecuting, that the woman had been walking home from a night out when Colbert grabbed her and dragged her into a nearby estate. He pinned her against a wall and banged her head off it three times.

Colbert then took down his trousers and underwear and tried to undo the woman’s belt, as she screamed for help.

A woman who lives nearby contacted gardai after she heard the screaming and the victim was still struggling with Colbert when gardai arrived on the scene. He pretended to make a phone call and then ran off.

Garda Ryan said Colbert was too intoxicated to be interviewed immediately after arrest, but later claimed his victim had engaged in consensual sex acts with him.

The court heard the victim declined to make a victim impact statement as she wished to put the matter behind her.

John Phelan SC, defending, handed Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan a psychologist’s report and asked her to make “any or all” of the recommended courses available to his client.

Commenting on the lack of a victim impact statement, Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan said the victim was “trying to put it all behind her and doesn’t want to be reminded by events”.

Imposing sentence this Monday, she said an aggravating factor was the physical harm caused to the victim’s face. She also noted Colbert’s “lack of genuine remorse” and a psychologist’s report which suggested he had a low level of empathy.

Accepting his low to moderate risk of re-offending and difficult personal circumstances as mitigating factors, Ms Justice Heneghan recommended that Colbert take part in courses to help his rehabilitation. Colbert’s name was previoulsy placed on the sex offenders register.