Attempted rapist caught after giving victim his phone number

Central Criminal Court

A Lithuanian construction worker who viciously beat and attempted to rape an 18-year-old student as she walked home after drinking with friends has been given an eight-year jail sentence, suspending nine months.

Arunas Cervinskas (aged 32) attacked the girl after she encountered him on her way home alone.

Gardaí were able to track him down through his phone number as the girl had given him her number just prior to the offence and he had called her mobile to verify it was correct.

The young woman suffered a broken nose, fractured jaw and shattered eye socket.

She also suffered significant bruising to her head, neck and chest and a cut which required stitching.

Cervinskas, of Shanliss Avenue, Santry, pleaded guilty to attempted rape of the girl on May 18, 2006 in a Dublin suburb.

A jury had been sworn in for his trial last December which ran for a number of days in legal argument before Cervinskas entered his guilty plea.

Lúan Ó Braonáin SC, prosecuting, told Mr Justice George Birmingham that the Director of Public Prosecution’s view was that this offence lay at the upper part of the scale, but at the lower end of the upper part of the scale.

Mr Justice Birmingham said the victim was "young, frail, slight and vulnerable". He noted she had been drinking and was alone in an open space.

He said the level of violence in the case was "quite shocking" and that the photos of the victim taken by gardaí after the attack were "horrific to view”.

He noted that the incident had, and continues to have, a serious impact on the victim.

Mr Justice Birmingham imposed an eight-year sentence and suspended the final nine months.

He backdated the sentence to when Cervinskas went into custody in November 2011 and ordered three years of post-release supervision. Cervinskas has been certified as a sex offender.

Detective Garda Andrina McCarthy told Mr Ó Braonáin that the victim had been drinking in a field with friends into the early hours and was making her way home alone when she was approached by two men.

She asked them for a cigarette and one of them responded saying they wanted her phone number and also suggested a kiss. She gave the man her number and he dialled it from his phone causing her phone to ring in her pocket.

She left the two men having refused to give a kiss and telling them she had a boyfriend, in an effort to depart. She continued on her way home over a low wall and through a field.

The next thing she remembered was being struck from behind by a man and knocked to the ground where he continued to strike her about the neck, chest and shoulders.

The attacker, whom she recognised as the man who had phoned her, attempted to have sex with her but failed as she wriggled and kicked out at him.

The girl lost consciousness and when she woke up the man was gone. She was very distressed and attempted to phone gardaí on her way home but failed to connect. Once she was home, her parents contacted gardaí.

Gardaí were able to identify the number that had dialled the missed call to the girl's phone and nominated Cervinskas as a suspect when they identified calls to his number from people connected to him such as his former girlfriend, work colleagues and family members.

One year later, Cervinskas was arrested and interviewed. He agreed to stand in an identity parade and give samples for DNA analysis, but denied involvement in the attack.

The woman identified Cervinskas in the identity parade but he continued to deny any involvement. He was charged with attempted rape and remanded on bail.

As the trial date set for May 2008 approached, gardaí became aware Cervinskas had stopped signing on and a bench warrant was issued for him.

In December 2011 a European Arrest Warrant was executed in London and Cervinskas returned to Ireland.

Det Gda McCarthy said Cervinskas had a number of previous convictions in his home country for theft from vehicles and hooliganism. He has convictions in Ireland for road traffic offences.

She agreed with Diarmuid McGuiness SC, defending, that at the time Cervinskas stopped signing on gardaí had also became aware that the victim may not have been in a position to give evidence.

Mr McGuiness handed a letter of apology into court from Cervinskas to his victim.

Cervinskas wrote in the letter: "I want to apologise to my victim. I feel very sorry for what I did."

He said he had made an innocent human being suffer because he lost his temper and was feeling the consequences every day.

"Please forgive me I feel really very sorry for everything," he wrote.

Mr McGuiness said Cervinskas had left the country due to losing his job and parting company with his former girlfriend.

He said he had made no secret of his identity in the UK which allowed him to be picked up and returned to Ireland where he has spent the last 13 months in custody.

He said he has been making use of the facilities available to him in prison.

In her victim impact statement, portions of which were outlined to the court, the girl said she had developed a phobia of the area where the attack took place and feared bumping into her attacker.

She suffered low self esteem, became self conscious and began self harming. She found socialising difficult and became withdrawn and depressed. She developed a lack of trust which led to destructive relationships.

She said her family had been traumatised and stressed by the events but have been very supportive of her. She feared that after Cervinskas absconded he would not be caught and would not face justice.

Mr Justice Birmingham noted in imposing sentence that Cervinskas had no previous convictions of this kind and had written a letter of apology.

He said the fact that Cervinskas had absconded reduced the effectiveness of other decisions in his credit.

He said his guilty plea was "not early or timely" and came after a decision was made against him following legal argument. He also took into account Cervinskas was a non-national.

Mr McGuiness said Cervinskas had been educated to secondary school level in Lithuanian and then did a diploma in furniture and fabrication.

He came to Ireland in search of work and was employed in the construction industry.

Mr McGuiness submitted that the victim had been spared the prospect of giving evidence about the offence before a jury.

He said Cervinskas should not be penalised for contesting the legal matters which were dealt with before he entered his guilty plea.

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