Man (50) sexually assaulted sleeping friend
A Tipperary man who sexually assaulted his friend as she lay asleep beside him has been jailed for three years after a judge said it would "send out the wrong signal" to impose a non-custodial sentence.
"He's done something very, very wrong," said Mr Justice Tony Hunt.
"People are entitled to feel that when they are in their house, their own bed, they are safe from molestation," he said as he handed down a sentence of four years with the final year suspended.
The 50-year-old, who cannot be named to protect his victim, pleaded guilty to one count of sexually assaulting the woman at her Tipperary home on September 7, 2015.
The court heard he sexually assaulted his long-term friend in her bed after the pair had been socialising together the night before. The woman only became aware something had happened when she woke up the next morning to find the naked man beside her and her underwear removed.
A local garda detective told Paul Burns SC, prosecuting, the then 43-year-old woman had been out celebrating the All-Ireland hurling final when she met the man, whom she had known since they were young, in a bar.
The man asked if he could stay over in her house. She told him to sleep on the couch, but woke up to find him in bed beside her, where he tried to have sex with her.
She told him to get out before contacting friends and then the gardaí, to whom he presented himself and admitted the offence.
The woman said she had been severely affected, losing confidence and feeling isolated, depressed and withdrawn.