An islander, who was sexually assaulted by a 22-year-old man who climbed through her window and got into her bed naked, has been praised for her “courage” after her attacker was thrown behind bars.
Ahead of his sentencing to four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment by the Royal Court yesterday, Raul Freitas was told of how the ordeal had inflicted serious psychological harm on the woman, who was now suffering PTSD.
Crown Advocate Matthew Maletroit told the Court that the woman is now having difficulty sleeping and relaxing, and that she had even gone to lengths to change her furniture in order to distance herself from what had happened. She said she felt she needed to move address to feel safe again.
The attack happened after the pair had been at a party.
When the woman returned to her flat, Freitas followed her, and asked for a drink and a lighter. The victim asked him to leave, and he made an attempt to kiss her, but she strongly rejected him, telling him: “I don’t want you here.”
Pictured: Freitas was sentenced for offences of sexual touching without consent and illegal entry with intent to commit a crime after a trial in January.
In the early hours of the morning - after the event - Freitas illegally entered the woman's home via her kitchen window, made his way through darkness to her bedroom where he removed his clothes and got into bed with her as she was sleeping.
He then began touching her in a sexual manner without her consent where she awoke by the feeling of him doing so.
She bravely managed to get him out of her property and called the Police, who arrested Freitas shortly after and noted his fingerprints on the kitchen window, indicating his point of entry.
He denied the offence, but was found guilty after a trial in January.
Crown Advocate Maletroit told the Royal Court that the victim had been left “scared, petrified and so shocked” by what had happened.
As well as feeling unsafe in her own home, he noted that she had to take several weeks off work due to her distress, for which she was not paid.
Defending Freitas, Advocate Francesca Pinel emphasised that the attack was “opportunistic” and “short-lived” rather than being premeditated.
She went on to tell the Court of Freitas’ troubled childhood, saying he had faced violence, neglect and instability growing up.
Advocate Pinel also asked the Court to consider that Freitas had a young child in Jersey.
Handing down Freitas’ sentence, Deputy Bailiff Robert MacRae descibred Freitas’ presence on the island as “detrimental”, but said that the Court had decided against deportation to allow him to remain part of his family’s life.
As well as being given a four-and-a-half-year stint at HMP La Moye, Freitas was also placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years.
He was also been given a restraining order preventing him from approaching or contacting the victim, directly or indirectly, for an indeterminate period of time.
Freitas was sentenced by the Superior Number of the Royal Court, a panel of jurats which only sits for the most serious cases. Jurats Pamela Pitman, Steven Austin-Vautier, Kim Averty, Rozanne Thomas and Charles Blampied were sitting.
Detective Constable Caroline Foord, the Investigating Officer, said afterwards: “This experience must have been terrifying for the victim and police are thankful for the courage she has shown throughout the investigation.”
She added: “The States of Jersey Police remain committed to working with key partners and advocacy services such as the SARC at Dewberry House, JAAR and the Jersey Women’s Refuge, to encourage victims of sexual crime to report such incidents.
“We will investigate all sexual offences reported to us and put offenders before the courts. We can assure victims that there are a number of agencies in a position to offer support and guidance, through all stages of the criminal justice process.”
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