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Thursday 27 July 2017

Prison officer faces sack after conviction for holiday sex attack

Mark Hilliard and Tom Worden

AN Irish prison guard convicted of sexual assault in Ibiza, Spain, now faces dismissal from his job at Wheatfield Prison.

Kenny Declan Francis (28), from Dublin, was sentenced last week to 27 months behind bars after breaking into a woman's apartment in September 2009.

Prosecutors said he acted "with the intention of satisfying his lustful desires".

The incident took place following an extended drinking session on the first day of a trip to the famous holiday resort.

Francis had climbed into the apartment through a window and encountered his Brazilian victim, who cannot be named, asleep on a couch in a bikini.

He tried to make her perform oral sex calling her a "whore" and a "disgrace".

Last week he was found guilty of an "unfinished attempted sexual assault" by a panel of judges sitting at the Provincial Court in Ibiza.

Sources in Ireland last night confirmed that Francis was employed by the Irish Prison Service at Wheatfield Prison and had continued to work while released on bail.

He was described as a "well-liked" member of staff and a "good guy" who had been in his job for about five years.

However, despite his reputation here and his "exemplary work record" it is almost certain he will be dismissed from the service in the wake of last week's conviction.

Appeal

Francis, who had denied the offence and who had spent three months in custody after his arrest, may also appeal the conviction.

An earlier court hearing heard he had consumed a significant amount of alcohol before breaking into the apartment in the party resort of San Antonio at 8.30am on September 5, 2009.

The previous day he drank "five or six" cans on the plane and about five whiskey-and-cokes on arrival in Ibiza with his friends.

He decided to stay out drinking when they returned to their hotel and it was then that he approached his victim's apartment.

She told prosecutors that she awoke to find Francis standing over her partially naked, telling her: "I'm going to f**k you, whore. You're a disgrace."

She punched him in the legs, then Francis grabbed her by the neck, threw her against a wall and fled the scene.

Shortly afterwards he was arrested by police who had been given his description. He had denied the attack but later paid her compensation of €7,500.

Irish Independent

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