A man originally from the Athlone area has been jailed for 13 years for attempted abductions in the midlands.
At Mullingar Circuit Court sitting in Tullamore on Thursday, Judge Tom Hunt handed down the jail sentence to 43-year-old Dermot Murphy, originally from Athlone but most recently living at Atlantic Coast Apartments, Waterford, for attempting to abduct a teenage girl last July on a rural road near her home in the Midlands and for a similar offence in Laois in 2007.
The Midlands girl who escaped from Murphy who tried to abduct her, was described by the judge as brave and strong.
Judge Tony Hunt said the girl who was pulled from her bike by a man who stopped her to ask directions was "a very brave and strong young woman," who "astutely" remembered details which helped the garda investigation.
It was only her bravery, strength, clear presence of mind and sense of purpose that saved her from the appalling fate that the man had in mind for her, he said.
The girl managed to kick and bite her way to safety, but her top came off in the incident and the court heard she struggled to get away from the man as she cycled on a rural road.
Judge Hunt described Murphy as a serious and dangerous recidivist offender, with a serious perversion. He expressed concern that despite receiving treatment for his behaviour while he served almost seven years for rape, aggravated sexual assault and false imprisonment in the 1990s, very little seemed to have changed for Murphy.
Sentencing Murphy, Judge Hunt said Murphy presents "a very serious source of danger" to young girls.
But he noted that Murphy had given gardai all the information that led to his conviction for the Laois offence, and had been open and frank with them.
This included telling gardai he had intended to sexually assault both young women. In deciding how to sentence Murphy, he noted he'd been friends with a man in Athlone whom he watched grooming and sexually assaulting young women. He recognised that Murphy had few happy childhood memories, though he came from a very decent family, and that he wanted treatment.
But he also recalled that the victim impact statement where the victim wondered if she would ever be able to put the incident behind her, and was concerned that he would attack other girls.
It was generous of her to consider other possible victims, but the judge said her life had been "considerably and permanently blighted" by the attack.
He jailed Murphy for 13 years for each of the attempted abductions, with those sentences to run concurrently. He also disqualified him from driving for life, saying a vehicle seemed to be "a significant tool for him in attempting to satisfy his perverse urges." He will also be supervised closely by the Probation Services for ten years after his release, "because there is clearly a need for further rehabilitation" and as a registered sex offender, he will have to inform gardai of his whereabouts for the rest of his life.