17/07/2012

10 Years For Burglar Who Sexually Assaulted Victim

A 25-year-old man has been given a 10-year sentence for a sexual assault and violent attack on a woman in her own home.

Andrius Pranaitis, of Dromin Road, Nenagh, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to attempted oral rape, aggravated sexual assault and burglary in Co Tipperary on August 14th, 2011.

Mr Justice Paul Carney said the details of the attack “could scarcely be more aggravating”. He called it an opportunistic and violent sexual assault in which Pranaitis, originally from Lithuania, “breached the sanctuary which the victim is entitled to in her own home”.

Garda Declan O’Carroll told Anthony Sammon SC, prosecuting, that the woman had been out socialising and had arranged for her child to be looked after in another house.

She returned home that night and on entering her home was punched repeatedly by Pranaitis and dragged into her daughter’s bedroom. He tried to force her to give him oral sex and continued to punch her in the face and drag her by the hair as she resisted his efforts.

Before Pranaitis left, he dragged her from the room by the hair and dropped her in the hall. He looked at the woman, who was “playing dead”, and struck her before taking a bottle of spirits and fleeing.

The woman was later taken to a Garda station after a local man found her in a distressed condition on the road.

Pranaitis was arrested and after several Garda interviews he admitted being in the house. He said he had been trying to steal from the house when a woman walked out of a room. He said he initially just wanted to knock her out but “lost control” and “used her sexually”.

The woman outlined in her victim impact statement how she no longer felt comfortable in the company of men in her workplace, that her social life had been limited and that she no longer felt safe in her home.

“I was not in the wrong place at the wrong time – I was in the right place at the right time, in my home,” she said.

Justice Carney took into consideration Pranaitis’s guilty plea and suspended the final 2½ years of the sentence. The judge also ordered him to stay away from the victim and undergo 18 months of post-release supervision if he stayed in Ireland on his release.

(H)

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