Tuesday 22 January 2019

'I thought I was dying,' woman tells court about alleged random sex attack

Slawomir Gierlowski
Slawomir Gierlowski

Declan Brennan

A woman has told the trial of a man accused of carrying out three random attacks on women she thought she was going to die during one assault.

Slawomir Gierlowski (33), of Galtymore Road, Drimnagh, Dublin, is charged with falsely imprisoning and assaulting a woman in September 2016 at a location near Naas Road, Clondalkin, Dublin.

He is also charged with unlawfully having a hunting knife with intent to intimidate on the same occasion.

Mr Gierlowski is also charged with false imprisonment, sexual assault and assault of a second woman at another location in Clondalkin on September 3, 2015.

Finally, he is charged with false imprisonment, sexual assault and assault of a third woman at this same location on September 11, 2011.

Mr Gierlowski has pleaded not guilty to all nine charges.

A jury of 12 men was sworn for the trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

One juror was excused yesterday when he said he recognised a witness in the trial.

The alleged victim of the 2015 attack told the jury she was walking home from a night out in the city centre when she felt a sudden force around her neck.

She said that it felt like a thick leather belt and it had come around her chin and upper neck before she had time to grab it.

She lost her balance and ended up on the ground.

She felt her legs being restricted and the man kept putting his hand over her mouth and nose to prevent her from screaming.

She said that after several screams the man told her: "Shut up or I'll kill you".

The alleged victim said his accent was Eastern European and his voice was quite vicious and angry.

She felt something being wrapped around her head and face and she guessed from the sound that it was tape.

As she described how it became difficult for her to breathe and became light-headed, she became upset in court.

"I thought I was dying. I had gone quite light-headed, like I was passing out. I felt it was for the best. I didn't know what was going to happen," she said.

She added: "I was still trying to scream as much as I could. I was still trying to scream but nothing was coming out."

She said the man turned her onto her stomach and took her hands behind her back and restricted them.

He then sexually assaulted her.

The attack ended when the owners of a nearby house called gardaí and the man ran off.

The trial continues before Judge Pauline Codd.

Irish Independent

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