A burglar who sexually assaulted a woman in her daughter’s bedroom and punched her until she played dead has been given a ten year sentence.
Lithuanian Andrius Pranaitis (25) 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 14, 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 “breached the sanctuary which the victim is entitled to in her own home.”
He took into consideration Pranaitis’ guilty plea and suspended the final two and a half years of the sentence. The judge also ordered him to stay away from the victim and undergo 18 months post-release supervision if he stays in Ireland on his release.
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 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.”
Gda O’Carroll said Pranaitis has five previous convictions for attempted robbery as well as road traffic and public order offences. A bench warrant had been issued for him in relation to the attempted robbery offence prior to this incident.
The woman outlined in her victim impact statement how she no longer feels comfortable in the company of men in her workplace, that her social life has been limited and that she no longer feels 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.
Gda O’Carroll agreed with Conor Devally SC, defending, that Pranaitis had later been spotted by a local man with the bottle of spirits he took from the woman’s house. His admissions as well as DNA analysis had established his connection to the attack.
Mr Devally said Pranaitis had been working around Tipperary and Meath collecting clothes.
He said he had admitted that everything the woman had said was right and said that he was sorry. Counsel added that he had entered the house impulsively and did not initially have sexual assault on his mind. Pranaitis wrote a letter of apology which was handed into court.