Convicted sex offender given four years for assault

A "very dangerous" convicted Polish sex offender has been given a four-year sentence for assaulting his partner who claimed he tried to hang her in their apartment to make it look like suicide.

Lech Szymczk (aged 49), of North Great Charles Street was described by Judge Tony Hunt as a "very dangerous person indeed" after it was revealed that his 10 previous convictions in Poland included sexual assault, aggravated assaults, threats, theft with violence, perjury and affray.

Szymczk was found guilty by a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury in April following one hour's deliberation of assaulting her causing her harm on August 20, 2006.

He was found not guilty on charges of attempting to strangle her and causing her serious harm.

Garda Peter Redmond said Szymczk had one conviction in Ireland for drunken driving in 2006.

Mr Derek Cooney BL, defending, said Szymczk continued to reiterate his innocence. He asked that a psychiatric report which raised some "concerns" and his non-national status be taken into account.

Judge Hunt imposed a sentence of four year's imprisonment with the final six months suspended and said it might be a matter for the Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform to consider "questions of policy" regarding Szymczk's presence in this country, given his previous convictions.

The woman, speaking through an interpreter, told prosecuting counsel, Ms Eilis Brennan BL, that she and Szymczk came to Dublin from Poland together two and a half years ago.

She claimed that after drinking 15 cans of beer, Szymczk tried to strangle her with the belt of her dressing gown to make it look like a suicide by hanging. She said he also severely beat her and threw a knife at her head before he then kept her tied up and held her captive until the morning.

The woman outlined in her victim impact statement how she suffers nightmares in reliving her ordeal at Szmczk's hands, feels generally unsafe and has been prescribed antidepressants and sleeping tablets.

She said they had been in a friend's house earlier that evening and when they returned to their flat Szymczk started complaining she had not helped him get a high enough price for selling a car to his friend.

She said he became very aggressive and began to hit her with his fists and to bang his head against hers.

"When he gets angry he can't stop once he starts unless he is tired or someone else beats him up as well."

She said he beat her for about an hour and she was only able to protect herself with one hand as she had recently injured the other in a car accident. She said he then got her dressing gown belt and hung it above the bed, tying a loop in one end and forcing her head into it.

She claimed he was pushing her so she would hang more on the belt. "He wanted to kill me but he didn't want to do it with his own hands so it would look like I did it to myself."

The woman claimed Szymczk then stopped using the belt and strangled her with his hands until she lost consciousness. When she came to he ordered her to make him something to eat and when they were in the kitchen he threw a knife at her head but missed.

He hit her "a few more times" before getting another beer and going to bed. When asked by Ms Brennan how she felt she replied: "I kept thinking it would be better if he killed me so it wouldn't hurt so much anymore."

The woman agreed with Mr Cooney, that she visited Szymczk 61 times when he had been put into custody after she told gardaí she feared him.

She also agreed that they "lived as husband and wife" for some days following his release after he had asked her to give him a second chance.

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