A man who raped a woman as she made her way home after a night out was jailed for six years when the case came before Londonderry Crown Court.
Judge Gemma Loughran also imposed an extended licence period of a further three years on James Frickleton (36), of no fixed abode, who will be eligible for release after three years, if determined by Parole Commissioners.
Frickleton admitted rape and sexual assault on October 19, 2014.
The court heard that the defendant had moved to the city just days before the incident.
The injured party was walking through St Columb’s Park in the early hours of the morning and was attempting to find her way to the Limavady Road.
She encountered Frickleton, who offered to walk her there.
The woman, who is in her 30s, was described as vulnerable because she had consumed alcohol.
The court heard the victim realised the defendant was taking her in the wrong direction and she attempted to walk away.
Frickleton placed one hand around her throat and his other hand over her mouth as he dragged her into trees.
She pleaded with the defendant, saying ‘please don’t do this’ and he replied that if she didn’t scream he would not hurt her.
The court heard Frickleton then sexually assaulted and raped the woman.
She said she froze and “let him do it because she was scared for her life”.
Frickleton was apprehended within the hour of the rape.
During police interview, he denied the offences and claimed the intercourse was consensual.
A Victim Impact Report was compiled on the injured party in which she said she is “struggling to cope and has to push herself to complete everyday tasks”.
The victim also said that after the rape she felt she was in a dark hole and lacked feelings.
She has suffered from nightmares, flash backs, panic attack and self blame since.
The court was told she has received counselling and there has been an improvement in her well being.
Frickleton has been assessed as posing a significant risk of serious harm.
It was revealed he has over 40 convictions in Northern Ireland and was sentenced for a sex offence in Dublin in 2010.
Defence counsel Neil Rafferty QC, said the rape was not pre-meditated and there was no gratuitous violence used.
He told the court Frickleton “deeply regrets engaging and causing this hurt to the victim”.
The barrister added the defendant “realises this is a life changing incident for him because if he does not address his issues history will repeat itself”.
Jailing the 36-year-old, Judge Loughran said: “Rape is a deplorable violation of another human being’s body. It is a degrading and humiliating experience for the injured party and requires a long custodial sentence”.
She said she is satisfied Frickleton is “genuinely sorry for what you did and have learned a very, very chastening lesson. You are now determined to change your life”.
As a result of the sentence, Frickleton will be on the sex offenders register for an indefinite period and is banned from working with children and vulnerable adults.
He will also be subject to a Sexual Offenders’ Prevention Order for 15 years.
This bans him from having any contact with lone females without approval from a risk manager and from entering into a relationship without disclosing his conviction.
He will also be banned from having any contact with the victim and from consuming illegal substances.