A man who sexually assaulted and exposed himself to teenage girls in a Dublin park has been jailed for just under three years.
In five incidents on various dates in the summer of 2020, Ahemd Yagoub (57) grabbed one young woman between the legs, rubbed another girl inside the top of her thigh and masturbated in front of some younger girls.
Yagoub, now of Strand Road, Bray, Co Wicklow and previously of an address in Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of sexual assault, two counts of exposure and one count of assault over a two-week period in a Dublin Park on dates in June and July 2020. He has no previous convictions.
Sentencing him on Tuesday, Judge Melanie Greally said that Yagoub had engaged in predatory conduct in a public park. He had followed the girls and subjected them to deeply unpleasant experiences.
She said the most serious incident was the last one on July 11, 2020.
A young woman and her friend had gone to a place in the park to discretely go to the toilet.
The victim was pulling back up her trousers when Yagoub grabbed her private area and squeezed.
Judge Greally noted that there were many common elements to the serious consequences for the victims, including suffering from nightmares and depression and experiencing greater fear and anxiety.
She noted his documented history of bipolar disorder and depression, and his lack of previous criminality.
She also noted favourable testimonials from staff and residents at the direct provision centre he currently resides in, which described him as “good natured, respectful and easy to live with”.
She imposed a prison term of two years and nine months on the most serious sexual assault.
She imposed concurrent sentences of one year for three other offences and adjourned sentence on the fifth offence to next February to allow for the risk assessment report to be compiled by the Probation Service.
An investigating garda told Fionnuala O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, that on June 26th, 2020, two 16-year-old girls were followed by Yagoub from a local shop into the park.
The girls saw him masturbating when he was about 10 steps away from them.
An adult woman in the park shouted to them to take a photo of the man. She later told gardaí she had seen the man hanging around previously.
On July 4th, 2020, an adult woman in the park felt she was being followed by a man and contacted her husband who took a photo of the man.
Later that day, three girls made a report to gardaí that a man had spoken to them and rubbed the legs of two of the 15-year-old girls, one of them on the inside of the top of her thigh. They identified the man from the photo taken earlier.
One week later on July 11th, 2020 a 19-year-old woman was in the park with a group of friends when she went to some bushes to go to the toilet. As she pulled up her trousers Yagoub grabbed her between the legs over her clothes. She and a friend screamed at him and returned to the group.
A male friend confronted Yagoub and recorded footage of him as he asked him questions. He threw a drink at Yagoub who kicked out at him. At that stage he stopped recording and called gardaí.
Yagoub was spotted on CCTV as a person of interest. He told gardaí that he had arrived from Algeria three months previously and was walking in the park as he suffered from depression.
He told gardaí he did not remember anything about the girls in relation to the exposure and offered an explanation that he had been going to the toilet. He accepted he had seen one girl going to the toilet but denied sexually assaulting her.
Five victim impact reports were handed into court but not read aloud.
The garda agreed with James Dwyer SC, defending, that Yagoub had made useful admissions but denied the underlying offences during interview.
She agreed that Yagoub told them the medication he was on affects his capacity to remember, but he had said he would not touch an underage girl.
Mr Dwyer said there was a history of mental illness in Yagoub’s family and his psychological report suggest a difficult childhood.
He said Ahmed had spent time in Argentina where he seems to have been in a psychiatric hospital before moving back to Algeria and then to Ireland
He said his client had expressed remorse and handed in a letter from his wife and from an employer describing him as a diligent worker.
He said his client had the capacity to live in a pro-social way and asked the court to design a sentence that incentivises that into the future.