Court jails man for three years for attempted rape

A Lithuanian national who attempted to rape a Longford student on the shore of a Leitrim lake last year has been jailed for three years by the Central Criminal Court.

Tomas Urbonas, a 26-year-old father of one, with an address at Landmark Court, Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim was convicted by a jury in July of the attempted rape and sexually assault of the 23-year-old woman on April 8, 2007.

Mr Justice Paul Butler directed that Urbonas' name be added to the register of sexual offenders and said the victim should be proud of herself for reporting the matter. He said it was an "appalling assault and attempt at rape" which had been halted by the actions of the victim.

The court heard that the woman had fought strenuously against Urbonas when he attacked her in the back of a car.

Urbonas is the subject of an European arrest warrant for an alleged robbery in his home country. He will be extradited in relation to that at the end of his sentence here. He arrived in Ireland in 2005 and has four previous conviction in this country for public order offences, drunk driving and possession of a weapon.

Detective Garda Patrick Leonard told prosecuting counsel, Conor Devally SC, that the woman met Urbonas the day after spending the night with a friend of his. The court heard that the woman had consumed alcohol and half an 'ecstasy' tablet the night before.

She intended to go home the next day and was at a bus stop when the man she had spent the night with and Urbonas cajoled her into getting into a car with them to go for a drink. Urbonas promised to drive her home later.

They picked up alcohol from an off licence and went to a lake where Urbonas poured drink for the others but did not consume any himself. The woman's companion from the night before then left her in the back seat of the two-door car with Urbonas in the front.

Urbonas got into the back seat and tried to kiss her. She struggled strongly but he got her trousers half off and also partially undressed himself. She said he pressed his penis against her but she wasn't aware of any penetration.

Mr Devally said the victim strongly defended herself, scratching the defendant and possibly biting his penis. He eventually sat back and she managed to get out of the car. She had suffered bruising to her chest and legs.

Urbonas then drove off but the other man returned and went with the woman to the garda station.

Defence counsel, Peter Finlay SC, said his client had pleaded not guilty to the offence and therefore the question of remorse could not arise.

He said matters had "taken a very regrettable turn, when all this girl asked for was a lift home".

In her victim impact statement the woman said she had been humiliated and violated.

She said she was ashamed, particularly during the course of the trial where her behaviour the night before the crime was exposed.

Mr Justice Butler said it was very important that people report sexual assaults and rapes and he appreciated that it puts victims through "enormous difficulty".


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