A man has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a Spanish visitor in the toilets of a McDonald's restaurant in Cork city.
The court was told that the man had kicked the cubicle door in and banged her head on the floor before he removed some of her clothing and sexually assaulted her.
The Irish Examiner and the Evening Echo report that Detective Garda Colin Greenway gave that evidence yesterday at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, where Philip Kelly, aged 26, of 42 Glenfields Park, Ballyvolane, Cork, pleaded guilty to the sexual assault.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said: “There are disturbing aspects of voyeuristic behaviour in the manner in which he secreted himself in the toilets and waited for this lady to come in and the physical and sexual violence with which he set about her.” The judge remanded Kelly in custody for sentencing on July 27.
Detective Garda Greenway said the crime was committed after 3.30am on August 4, 2014, at McDonald’s on Patrick Street, Cork. The Spanish woman went into a cubicle in the female toilets and locked it behind her.
“She heard a loud bang on the door. At first she thought it was another female patron. Then the door was hit so hard the lock on the door fell on the floor. She was tying her trousers when her attacker grabbed her by the head and put her on the ground.
“She shouted for help. He removed her trousers and underwear. He banged her face and head on the ground and put his fingers in her vagina while he put his other hand over her face and mouth.
“She finally managed to escape. Two female eyewitnesses entered the toilets when they heard the screams for help. They went downstairs to get security. The security man held on to him until gardaí arrived and he was arrested.
“He was later interviewed and he made full admissions. He said he went into one cubicle to look at female patrons when they were using the other cubicle. He was in hiding in one and looking over the top of it into another cubicle when women were using it,” Det. Garda Greenway said.
In terms of previous convictions he got a three-year sentence for a serious physical assault on a woman in October 2012 and was out on temporary release when he committed the offence in McDonald’s.
He also had an indecency conviction from 2011 where the circumstances were similar to the McDonald’s crime but without a sexual assault.
In that crime a woman was using the toilet at the main bus station in Cork city when she screamed on seeing a man over the cubicle partition looking down at her.
He got 130 hours of community service at Cork District Court for engaging in offensive conduct that time.
Philip Kelly is now living at 23 Earl’s Court, Ardkeen, Waterford. He pleaded guilty to engaging in offensive conduct at the bus station on Parnell Place, Cork, at 8.30am on the morning of February 16 last.
He also pleaded guilty to a count of engaging in threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour arising out of the incident. Judge Leo Malone fined Kelly €300 for that offence.
The evidence given in that case was that the female entered the toilets at the bus station at around 8.30am on February 16, 2011, and went to the female toilets.
The inspector said that when she was in the cubicle she looked up and saw a man over the cubicle with his hands hanging down over the side.
She let out a scream and ran out of the bathroom. The defendant chased after her down the stairs, shouting after her, "Here, you". He chased her into the foyer of the bus station. He left by a side door.
Kelly told Garda Greenway when interviewed about the sexual attack on the Spaniard that he realised from the age of 16 that he had a problem with this kind of behaviour.
Defence barrister, Sinead Behan, said the accused was dealing with this problem through attendance for one day a week at a course designed to address such issues. Ms Behan said the defendant’s parents were very concerned about him.
Apart from the complaint to the guard who arrived on the scene, the victim did not return to gardaí to make a more formal complaint and has since returned to Spain.