A burglar who broke in through the window of a sleeping woman’s bedroom and sexually assaulted her as she fought to escape has been jailed for ten years.
The woman described at the Central Criminal Court how she awoke in bed to find Ibrahim Elghynaoui (28) on top of her kissing her with his hand on her throat.
She said she believed she was going die as Elghynaoui then strangled her during a struggle on her bedroom floor. She realised no one was coming to help her so began to fight back by pushing her thumbs into his eyes, kneeing him in the groin and biting him on the hand.
She said she told herself: “If you don’t get yourself out of this you are going to die.”
As she got up to run for her bedroom door, she said Elghynaoui put his fingers forcefully into her vagina. She described this as having the force of an open-handed blow. She ran from the room and Elghynaoui escaped back out the ground floor window in her room back onto the street.
Elghynaoui admitted to gardai that he was the burglar but denied sexually assaulting the woman.
Elghynaoui of no fixed abode, had pleaded not (NOT) guilty to aggravated sexual assault of the woman and burglary at her home in Dublin on July 17, 2019. He was convicted by a jury of both counts following a trial last December.
Elghynaoui pleaded guilty (GUILTY) to the burglary of another man’s nearby apartment earlier the same night and attempted burglary of another home on July 12, 2019.
Moroccan national Elghynaoui, who was homeless at the time of these offences, has 33 previous convictions across three jurisdictions. He has 22 Irish convictions for offences such as burglary, possession of a knife and failing to appear in court. He has been in custody since July 18, 2019.
The court heard today that Elghynaoui came to Ireland in 2017 and first appeared on the PULSE system in August of that year.
He has no immigration status to be in Ireland and a deportation application was submitted by gardai in January 2018. He was in custody on foot of charges in April 2018 and applied for asylum.
Elghynaoui was released from custody on the basis of that application but failed to engage with the process and the application was closed. Another deportation order is currently in place.
Michael O’Higgins SC, defending, said Elghynaoui will not apply to reactivate the asylum process and will be bound by the deportation order.
Mr Justice Paul McDermott today said the accused man had subjected the woman to the terror of a sexual assault on her own bed in the dead of night. He noted she had been in a vulnerable and defenceless position.
He said she demonstrated very impressive fortitude and courage during the incident.
Mr Justice McDermott said the effects of the attack on the woman had been devastating and long-lasting affecting her life, employment and relationships.
He said the attack had been grossly humiliating and degrading with a clear overhanging threat of serious violence. The woman, who was alone and at her most defenceless, had been terrified and feared for her life as the accused made continuous efforts to keep her subdued.
The judge said Elghynaoui bore a high degree of culpability and set a headline sentence of 12 years for the sexual assault and nine years for the burglary.
He noted in mitigation that Elghynaoui had accepted the evidence in the case to a significant degree and acknowledged he was present but did not plead guilty or express remorse.
He took into account the guilty pleas to the other burglaries and that Elghynaoui will serve his sentence in this country where he has no friends and will have social and cultural difficulties.
Mr Justice McDermott imposed a sentence of ten years for the aggravated sexual assault, seven and a half years for the burglary of the woman’s home.
He imposed a sentence of three years for the earlier burglary and 18 months for the attempted burglary with all sentences to run concurrently.