A convicted sex offender who attempted to rape a woman during a late night attack in public has had ten years added to the lengthy prison term he is serving for other attacks.
In 2018 Slawomir Gierlowski (36) was jailed for 22 and a half years, with four years suspended, for random outdoor attacks on three other women. Those attacks took place in the Clondalkin area between 2011 and 2016.
After a Central Criminal Court trial in May 2019 Gierlowski of Galtymore Drive, Drimnagh, Dublin was convicted of attempted rape, sexual assault and assault causing harm of a fourth victim on the night of December 18, 2010. This attack took place in the city centre and is his first recorded attack.
Sentencing for those offences was adjourned while Gierlowski appealed the 2018 convictions and the severity of that sentence. The Court of Appeal dismissed these appeals in July (2021).
Passing sentence on Thursday, Justice Michael White said that Gierlowski remains a serious threat to the safety of women. He noted that there was no acknowledgement from the defendant of his predatory behaviour.
Detective Garda Rory O'Connor told the court that in December 2010 a woman was making her way home at around 3am when Gierlowski followed her into the courtyard of her apartment block and pushed her to the ground. He began choking her and punched her a number of times in the face.
The woman begged him to let her go while his hand remained on her throat. Gierlowski was on top of the woman and attempted to rape her before fleeing the scene. Detectives were able to get a DNA profile of the attacker from semen found on the skirt of the victim.
In May 2016 gardaí investigating a knife point attack on a woman in Clondalkin in west Dublin identified Gierlowski as the suspect. He was arrested and a DNA profile was generated.
This was then matched to the semen from the 2010 city centre attack as well as to DNA profiles retrieved during investigations into two separate sexual assaults on women in the Clondalkin area in 2011 and 2015.
Gierlowski was subsequently convicted of three attacks on women in Clondalkin, two of which involved a sexual assault on women walking home after a night out.
At the sentence hearing in 2018, Judge Pauline Codd said the attacks, involving the use of a leather belt, a hunting knife, duct tape and cable ties, were brutal and primal. She imposed consecutive sentences totalling 22.5 years and suspended the final four years.
In May 2019 Gierlowski went on trial at the Central Criminal Court for the earliest attack. He was convicted by unanimous decision of the three charges of sexual assault, attempted rape and assault causing harm. Gierlowski had denied all the charges.
Orla Crowe SC, defending, previously told the court that her client continues to maintain his innocence on all offences.
Ms Crowe said her client was “doing reasonably well” in custody, is on “enhanced” prisoner status and was working in the laundry.
At a sentence hearing in October 2019 before the Central Criminal Court, Mr Justice White noted any sentence imposed for the 2010 attack would be consecutive to the sentence he is currently serving.
He said when imposing a consecutive sentence the court is obliged to take into consideration the principle of totality. This principle requires the total aggregation of appropriate sentences to be a just and appropriate measure of the total criminality involved.
Justice White said that in order to proceed with sentencing Gierlowski for the 2010 attack “a degree of certainty” was required and he would be acting in a vacuum if he were to impose a sentence in advance of the conclusion of the appeal. He adjourned sentencing until the Court of Appeal decision on the 2018 sentencing.
Imposing sentence on Thursday, Mr Justice White said that he was obliged to consider the sentencing principle of totality. This requires that a total sentence imposed is just and proportionate.
Justice White said that this was a case where the circumstances were so difficult that the totality principle would mean very little in reduction. He said that in the absence of Gierlowski acknowledging his predatory behaviour he remained a serious threat to the safety of women.
Setting a headline sentence of 15 years for the attempted rape, he reduced this to ten years. This will begin on the termination of the sentence he is already serving. He imposed concurrent sentences of five years for each of the other assaults.
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