May 2016

Man jailed for sexual assaulting woman in changing room

A man who had ambitions to become a professional boxer was jailed yesterday for a sexual assault he carried out in the changing room of a Limerick hotel gym when his victim was putting on her swimsuit.

Limerick Circuit Court was told Shane Byrnes is a danger to women.

It was the second time he had carrying out this kind of attack on a woman in a hotel gym and a probation report stated he was at risk of committing a similar offence within 12 months.

Byrnes, age 26, of 34 Hyde Road, Ballinacurra Weston, pleaded guilty to sexual assault at the leisure centre of the Castletroy Park Hotel on April 18, 2014.

Garda Colum O’Shea said the woman went to the leisure centre that day.

After leaving the gym she went to the changing where she began to put on a swimsuit. The bottom part of the swimsuit was on when she heard water being flushed in a toilet cubicle.

A man then came out of the cubicle carrying a duffle bag. The top of her swimsuit was not fully on and she covered herself with her hand.

The man said “sorry I thought I was in the lads changing room”.

The victim said “grand, just get out”.

She then realised he had moved over beside her and his bag brushed off her leg. Byrnes then put his hand over her shoulder and grabbed the hand covering her front.

Referring to her breasts he said “very nice, let me see them and let me touch them”. She still had not the top of her swimsuit on and he grabbed her breast. As he did so the victim managed to elbow Byrnes and shouted at him to get away.

Byrnes stood and stared at her before leaving.

The management were alerted and gardaí were called.

When questioned, Byrnes said when he saw the woman either naked or topless he got turned on and asked her to show him her breasts.

Jailing Byrnes for 18 months, Judge Tom O’DOnnell said it was the second time Byrnes had sexually assaulted a woman in a hotel gym. He said a probation report indicated that Byrnes was at high risk of reoffending and moderate risk of carrying out another sexual assault within 12 months.

He said Byrnes failed to complete a course to deal with his sexual offending. The report stated that even if Byrnes fully engaged with this course, there was no guarantee that this could cure him of his behaviour.

Judge O’Donnell ordered Byrnes’ name be placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years.