Security guard jailed for sexually assaulting woman in park

Woman believed Cornel Onofrei was a taxi driver and he brought her to remote area

A man who sexually assaulted a woman after bringing her to a remote area of the Phoenix Park in Dublin in his car has been jailed for nine months at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

A man who sexually assaulted a woman after bringing her to a remote area of the Phoenix Park in Dublin in his car has been jailed for nine months at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

 

A man who sexually assaulted a woman after bringing her to a Dublin park in his car has been jailed for nine months.

Cornel Onofrei (38) initially denied assaulting the woman, who was under the impression he was a taxi driver, by kissing her after driving to “remote dark location” in the Phoenix Park.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard the woman pushed him away and exited the car, finding herself in darkness in the park before Onofrei then drove her home.

Onofrei, with an address at Manor Place, Manor Street, Dublin, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the woman at a place unknown in the Phoenix Park on December 17th, 2018.

He has 28 previous convictions, including 14 road traffic convictions from Ireland and prior theft and immigration offences from outside the state.

Passing sentence, Judge Melanie Greally said the circumstances in which the offence was committed were “somewhat unusual”.

Judge Greally said the victim had been socialising at an office party and was “quite heavily intoxicated” when she and another person encountered Onofrei.

She said the victim believed him to be a taxi driver, but he was in fact working as a security guard. She said Onofrei indicated he would take the victim to her home, but instead took a route which brought them to a “remote dark location” in the Phoenix park.

Not truthful

Judge Greally said Onofrei was identified via CCTV and while he co-operated with the interview process, he was not truthful in relation to many of the actions he took . She said he made admissions in relation to driving to the park.

She said the accused appeared to have little real appreciation of the seriousness of his conduct and the assessment of the Probation Service places him at a medium risk of reoffending.

The judge said his denial that his behaviour was sexually harmful has had an impact on the view of his probation officer in relation to the likely success of probation supervision.

Judge Greally said there was “sinister and predatory behaviour” on the part of the accused man. She said he took advantage of a person who was “manifestly intoxicated and unwell”.

She said the accused took the victim to “an extremely remote and low-lit place” in the public park and has caused her “very considerable” stress and fear in the aftermath.

The judge said she would give him credit for his plea of guilty and his admissions made “in spite of some manifest untruths”.

Judge Greally sentenced Onofrei to 13 months imprisonment, but suspended the final four months on strict conditions, including that he follow all directions of the Probation Service for 12 months post release.