Man stalked and assaulted woman on her 19th birthday, court hears

A Bandon woman walking home alone from her 19th birthday celebrations was violently attacked by a man who stalked her first and later told her she would get an arrow in the back of her head if she screamed.
Man stalked and assaulted woman on her 19th birthday, court hears

A Bandon woman walking home alone from her 19th birthday celebrations was violently attacked by a man who stalked her first and later told her she would get an arrow in the back of her head if she screamed.

“She should be able to walk through the streets of Bandon on her birthday,” Judge Helen Boyle said as she sentenced Daniel Szymczyk, 24, to four years in jail with the last year suspended at Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday.

Detective Garda Peter Nolan said that after 3am on Sunday, December 1 last year the woman was walking home alone from Bandon after celebrating her birthday that Saturday night.

“She became aware of a male, not known to her, watching her from the footpath on the other side of the road," Det Garda Nolan said. "She felt uneasy and took out her mobile phone to ring a friend. The defendant ran across the road and grabbed her phone from her hand and flung it on the ground, smashing it. He told her repeatedly he would walk her home. She repeatedly declined and as the injured party said, then he really flipped.

“He pushed her to the ground with force and punched her once in the head with his fist.

"He held her against him with his left hand and put his right hand over her mouth to stifle her cries for help. He remained in possession of her handbag.

“He made her walk with him, forcefully holding her, and brought her down the street in the direction from which she had come. He told her if she shouted or made a noise she would get an arrow through the back of her head. The injured party was terrified and in complete fear of the attacker,” Det Garda Nolan said.

She saw three youths in the distance and waited until they were within better sight to shout for help. The defendant pushed her violently to the ground where she struck her head against the footpath.

“The defendant kicked her with force into the face once. He then fled in possession of her handbag,” Det Garda Nolan said.

The three youths called the Gardaí and walked with her to the station 300 metres away.

Over 100 hours of CCTV footage was analysed and Det Garda Nolan said the accused could be seen actively stalking the young woman, hiding behind cars and ducking into doorways as he followed her prior to the attack.

He was arrested on December 13 at his home in Bandon and questioned.

Ultimately, he pleaded guilty to charges including assault causing harm, false imprisonment and robbery.

Ben Shorten, defence barrister, said the Polish man had worked as a factory operator and in the context of minor previous convictions this behaviour was an aberration. The defendant had consumed a 0.7 bottle of vodka that night, four cans of beer and a gram of amphetamine.

Judge Helen Boyle said: “You stalked this lady through the streets, attacked and robbed her, knocked her to ground. You walked with her for 160m and put her fear for her life."

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