A Donegal man whose life changed utterly when he was jailed in French Guinea similar to a storyline from Hollywood movie Papillion has been jailed for sexually assaulting a woman.
The man, who cannot be named, was jailed for a total of 15 months when he appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court.
The man was drinking in the same bar as the woman in July, 2018.
The woman felt a little drunk and decided to walk home after being told by the barman that it would take 30 minutes for a taxi to come.
As she was walking home she was followed by the accused who asked if he could walk her home.
When she refused the man grabbed her by the neck, pulled her to the ground and began “moaning and groaning.”
In her victim impact statement, the woman said “He told me to shut up as nobody was going to hear.”
Suddenly the man jumped up off the ground and walked away leaving the woman with swelling on her lips, bruising on her thighs and groin area and a sore back.
The man later signed himself into a psychiatric unit for fourteen days after the attack.
He was arrested and admitted assaulting the woman by hitting her three times and then throwing her into a hedge.
The court was told the victim suffered a nervous breakdown, had to take time off work and only got through her ordeal thanks to counselling and her family and close friends.
Barrister for the accused, Shane Costello, SC, said his client was drinking heavily since his ordeal in French Guinea after he was told he could make a quick €10,000 for a drugs run.
He was caught with the drugs, received a four and a half year jail sentence and was “sexually and physically assaulted and degraded” while in prison.
Mr Costello said the man’s situation was similar to that of the Hollywood film Pappillion.
“His only release was to go on drinking sessions and one of them was the night,” said the accused man’s barrister.
Passing sentence Judge John Aylmer described the incident as “quite a violent attack” which had left the victim traumatised ever since.
However, he said the accused had been labouring under significant psychological difficulties and post-traumatic stress and was genuinely remorseful.
He said the attacked merited a sentence of three years but reduced it to two years because of the mitigating factors.
He also suspended the final nine months of the two-year sentence on the agreement that the man enter a bond to keep the peace.
He also ordered him to engage with the mental health services, abstain from alcohol and placed him on the Sex Offenders Register.