Man jailed for unprovoked attack on woman as she was walking in Dublin

Alan Joyce (27) ran up behind the woman and asked her if she wanted to be his girlfriend.
Man jailed for unprovoked attack on woman as she was walking in Dublin

Sonya McLean

A man who launched an unprovoked attack on a woman as she was walking late at night has been jailed for 2½ years.

The victim, who was an inpatient in St Patrick’s Mental Health Hospital in Dublin, was just outside the security gates of the hospital when Alan Joyce (27) ran up behind her and asked her if she wanted to be his girlfriend.

Joyce put his arms around the woman’s shoulders. She shouted at him to stop touching her but he held her with force. He said to her “I want a girlfriend. Will you be my girlfriend?”

The woman again said “no” but Joyce struggled with her, knocking her to the ground. Her clothes came undone during the scuffle and exposed her breasts. Joyce tried to get on top of her but the woman continued to kick out at him and screamed.

She managed to kick Joyce in the stomach and continued to scream for help. Joyce eventually ran off and shouted back at the woman that she was “a whore, a prostitute” and “nobody likes you anyway”. The woman was left with minor cuts to her breasts, forehead and wrist.

Joyce, of Pim Street, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to the woman on Stephen’s Lane, Kilmainham on June 14th, 2017.

His 10 previous convictions are mostly for public order and drink related offences. A bench warrant issued previously for Joyce when he failed to appear for a court hearing and he has been remanded in custody since it was executed last January.

'Really scared'

Detective Garda Colm Reynolds told Pieter Le Vert BL, prosecuting, that the woman was “really scared and terrified” and “felt completely unsafe”. She dialled 999 as soon as Joyce ran off and security from the hospital came out to her assistance.

She later gave gardaí a description of her attacker and Joyce was identified after gardaí viewed footage from nearby CCTV cameras, having tracked Joyce’s movements for a number of minutes up until the point of the attack.

During interview Joyce accepted that he was trying to chat the woman up but said he didn’t think he had asked her for a kiss. He said he had been drinking heavily and struggles to remember things when he has been drinking.

“I think I went in for a hug. I get like that when I drink,” Joyce told gardaí before he said he was trying to get the woman’s number. He admitted he may have shouted a few things back at her as he walked away.

A victim impact statement was handed into court but not read into the record.

Vincent Heneghan SC, defending, accepted that it was a serious offence that clearly had an impact on the victim.

He asked that the court consider suspending a proportion of the sentence on the condition that his client engage with the Probation Services as he said Joyce “could do with the benefit of their guidance in his life”.

'Humiliating' experience

Judge Martin Nolan said the woman had ended up on the ground following a scuffle but added that she had “resisted well and after a time he desisted and left the scene”.

“It was a humiliating and degrading experience and I have no doubt it was an extremely frightening attack,” Judge Nolan said.

He accepted evidence that Joyce had been intoxicated on the night but said that was “no real excuse as he put himself in that position”.

“He knows himself when he takes drink that it causes him difficulty but yet he continues drinking and gets himself into trouble with the gardaí,” Judge Nolan said before he described it as “an unprovoked, determined and insidious assault”.

Judge Nolan jailed Joyce for 2½ years and backdated the sentence to when he first went into custody in January.

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