A man who sexually assaulted a woman while breaking up a fight outside a takeaway has been jailed for three and a half years.
Catalin Feketi appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court where he was charged with the opportunist attack at Port Road, Letterkenny on July 1st, 2018.
Catalin, a 28-year-old Romanian national, came across the woman as she was set upon by other women outside a takeaway.
He pretended to break up the fight but instead, he sexually assaulted the young woman, who was then aged 19 years, by digitally penetrating her vagina with a number of his fingers.
Fekete managed to flee the scene despite being pursued by the women’s friends.
The shocked woman contacted a friend who was a doorman at the Voodoo Nightclub nearby and he collected her.
He described how he collected the woman and she was in a terrible state with mascara running down the side of her face because she was crying so much.
She told him what had happened and he took her to Letterkenny Garda station where she made a report of the attack and also received specialist medical treatment.
He said “She told me what had happened and I told her that she had to report it to the Gardai so I drove her to the station.
“She was absolutely in bits. There was mascara running down the side of her face from crying.”
The accused was apprehended at a later date when he was spotted by former Detective Mick Carroll who was working at the Pulse Nightclub where the woman had been socialising on the night she was attacked.
He always denied that he attacked the woman.
The woman, who said she was wearing a short jump-suit, said she had not been drinking excessively.
The jury of eleven men and one woman were shown CCTV footage of the attack as part of the court evidence and later returned a majority guilty verdict in January.
Fekete was remanded in custody and appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court where he continued to deny he sexually assaulted the woman.
Barrister for Fekete, Ms Fiona Crawford, said her client does not accept responsibility and continues to maintain that he did not mean to sexually assault the woman.
She told the court that her client was a hard-working man who had lived in Paris, London, Liverpool, Glasgow and Derry and had never been in receipt of social welfare payments.
She added that the man’s wife knew he was in prison but that she still did not know the reason why he was being detained.
Judge John Aylmer described the assault as opportunistic and said it was a “gross and indecent violation of the victim.”
Having read the woman’s victim impact statement in private he added “It appears for the victim impact statement that this has stopped any sense of security she previously felt going out at night socially.”
He said he placed the attack at the mid-range of such offences and one which merited four years in prison.
He said he could not give Feketi any usual credit for an early plea as he still denies what he did but that he must get credit for not having any previous convictions and his good history of employment.
He reduced the sentence to one of three and a half years and ordered Feketi to be the subject of a post-release supervision order for five years.