Wednesday 22 August 2018

Man with 168 previous convictions jailed for sexually assaulting woman

Timothy Laffey appeared for sentencing at Mullingar Circuit Court sitting in Tullamore
Timothy Laffey appeared for sentencing at Mullingar Circuit Court sitting in Tullamore

Declan Brennan

A convicted burglar who was on the run when he carried out a sexual assault on a woman he met in a pub has been jailed for four years.

In April 2015 Paddy Harty (44) met the woman in a pub and they went to a number of pubs together drinking. He then drove her to a secluded part of The Curragh in Co Kildare where he attacked her.

Harty held the woman down forcibly by her arms and removed her leggings and underwear. The victim, who was still wearing a dress, managed to escape and hid in nearby bushes.

She was in a distressed state when she called gardai from her hiding place and they were unable to locate her.

The victim told the court that the memory of the attack stayed with her every minute of every day.

Harty, of Lahinch Road, Ennis, Co Clare, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to sexual assault of a woman at The Curragh, Co Kildare on April, 23, 2015 last.

Today Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy sentenced Harty to four years imprisonment. She made it consecutive to another four year sentence he received in Galway Circuit Court last November for theft and fraud offences.

His 168 previous convictions include 42 theft offences, three for burglary and 12 for breaching domestic violence orders. He has no prior history of sexual offending.

The court heard that Harty was unlawfully at large at the time of the assault. In January 2015 he was serving a prison sentence and was released into the care of the Coolmine residential treatment programme.

He failed to show up for the programme and was reported as unlawfully at large. He was arrested on April 26 in Co. Clare.

Ronan Munro SC, defending, said Harty was deeply sorry for his actions and the distress he caused to the victim. Counsel said that during the trial the victim gave evidence with great dignity.

He said Harty was a married father who had had a chronic alcohol addiction. A medical report stated that he had a limited cognitive ability and did not have the skills to moderate his own behaviour.

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