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Home / News / Man jailed for two years over false imprisonment, assault

Man jailed for two years over false imprisonment, assault

A Galway man who falsely imprisoned, threatened, attacked and sexually assaulted his girlfriend following a row has been jailed for two years.

The 32-year-old man pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to a number of offences including threat to kill or causing serious harm, assault causing harm, sexual assault and false imprisonment on 1 August 2021.

He has one previous conviction for an assault offence.

A local garda told the court that the accused and the complainant had been in a relationship, that they had broken up the previous November, but it had rekindled that summer.

The woman had been out socialising that evening separately before meeting up with the man, getting food and heading back to his home.

The man accused her of cheating and an argument broke out, during which time the man took a knife from a bedside locker and threatened the woman with it.

He held the knife against her throat and told her she was not going to get out of the room alive.

The man’s mother and brother were in the house at the time and heard the noise. They came up to investigate and saw the man putting a knife through the woman’s phone.

The woman tried to leave but the man came behind her, pushing her and she fell forward. She managed to get out of the house but he caught her and carried her back upstairs to his bedroom where he blocked up the door with some weights.

The garda said the man’s brother came back to the room and the woman managed to get out of the house again. She had no shoes and was wearing the man’s shorts and a hooded top. She told him she was going to the gardaí.

The man caught up with the woman and pushed her to the ground. His brother and another member of his family arrived at the area and one of them held onto the accused to let the woman get away.

She was also handed shoes and got some distance away but he pulled her backwards again, dragging her by the arm and shoulder. She escaped again and he caught up with her again and said he wanted his shorts back.

He told the woman that if she was going to the gardaí she would be going without her shorts before he pulled them off her, leaving her naked from the waist down. He then sexually assaulted her.

The man’s family caught up with them and the woman was taken home. She alerted the gardaí and the man was arrested a couple of days later.

He claimed that he was trying to protect the woman because he believed she was going to hurt herself.

He was shown CCTV footage from the area which included an audio recording during which he could be heard threatening the woman that he would “put (her) in a box”.

“The physical injuries are healed but the mental ones are still there”

In a victim impact statement, the woman said she was “emotionally not able to relive things I have been trying to make myself forget”.

She spoke of having sleepless nights, filled with nightmares and terror but said she had “the best support system”.

“Without them I genuinely would not be here to give this statement,” the woman continued before she described having experienced suicidal thoughts.

“The physical injuries are healed but the mental ones are still there,” she said before she spoke of not being able to trust anyone. She said she struggled to keep a job because of her mental health.

“What did I do to deserve this. This is just my life now. Hopefully I will start to feel safe again,” the woman continued before she outlined lashing out and pushing away those who are close to her.

She said she was an independent strong woman but that was all taken away from her.

It was accepted that the man had an issue with binge drinking but has not come to garda attention since.

It was further accepted by the investigating garda that it was “a toxic relationship” and “alcohol was part of that issue”.

Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha SC defending said his client had prepared a letter of apology for the woman.

Reports before the court indicate that he has an understanding of the pain he has caused.

Counsel said his client helps out in his local soccer club and works with his resident’s association. He has a young son and takes his role as a father seriously.

Mr Justice David Keane wished the woman well in her continuing recovering.

He said the aggravating features of the cases included the fact that the woman was subjected to a prolonged ordeal that involved many offences.

Mr Justice Keane acknowledged that the man pleaded guilty at an early stage which saved the woman the distress of the potential ordeal of having to give evidence at trial.

He acknowledged that reports indicate that the man is at a medium risk of re-offending before he imposed concurrent terms totaling four years.

He suspended the final two years of the sentence on condition that he engage with the Probation Service and undergo any treatment programmes they deem as suitable for a period of two years.

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