A man who fled to Ireland after being charged with sexually assaulting a woman after a party at her house in Luton nearly five years ago has been jailed.
Declan Bushby, 45, was this week jailed for a total of two years and 10 months after admitting he had touched the victim while she was sleeping.
Luton Crown Court heard he finally returned from Cork in January this year and handed himself in to the police.
He initially denied the sex assault charge, but pleaded guilty on Wednesday before his trial started.
Prosecutor Peter Shaw told Luton Crown Court that the woman was having her 27th birthday party at her home on the evening of July 23, 2011.
She allowed Bushby, who she knew only through friends, to attend, but he became very drunk and at midnight she asked him to leave.
Mr Shaw said Mr Bushby left without trouble. However, in the morning the woman was asleep on a sofa bed in the sitting room when she awoke to discover Bushby’s head and shoulders under her blanket with him touching her upper thigh area.
She shouted: “What the f... are you doing? How did you get in my home?”
Bushby replied: “I am a professional burglar.”
He said he had come back for his mobile phone. When he was interviewed by the police he said he had returned for his tobacco.
Bushby pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the woman on July 24, 2011. He also admitted failing to attend Luton Magistrates’ Court on September 21, 2011. The prosecution accepted his not guilty plea to burglary.
Mr Shaw said he had 10 convictions for 28 previous offences, including burglary and wounding.
Defending, Alec Williams, said Bushby had come to Ireland to visit his grandmother who was very ill and had stayed on to deal with her funeral. On the night of the sexual assault he had drunk a full bottle of expensive brandy, he said.
Judge Michael Kay QC said: “It was a one-off drunken opportunistic offence, but was a very serious assault carried out in the victim’s home.”
Bushby was made the subject of a restraining order banning him from contacting the victim. He must also register indefinitely as a sex offender.
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