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Sexual assault convict given probation as victim tells court he thought of killing himself

The defendant was described as a 'troubled' and 'conflicted' young man who, because of the offence, had been excluded from the sporting world he enjoyed

A man who was sexually assaulted by a Portadown man has said he seriously considered taking his own life after what happened.

The details were revealed in a victim impact statement read out at Newry Crown Court on Tuesday.

The defendant, James McAtarsney, of The Beeches, Garvaghy Road, appeared in court where he was sentenced to three years’ probation.

The 33-year-old pleaded guilty, that on a date unknown between December 20, 2015 and January 1, 2017, he intentionally touched the injured party, the circumstances being that the touching was sexual, that he did not consent to the touching and he did not reasonably believe that he so consented.

In the hand-written victim impact statement read out by Judge William Ramsey, the injured party also said making a statement to police about what had happened was “the most difficult thing he ever had to do”.

He also “summoned his strength” to admit to his parents and loved ones what had happened, and said the defendant’s plea of guilty was a “cathartic moment”.

Summing up, Judge William Ramsey said one aggravating feature was that the victim was asleep and in a vulnerable situation when the assault took place.

He described the defendant as a “troubled” and “conflicted” young man who, because of the offence, had been excluded from the sporting world he enjoyed.

He said he had taken steps to address his problem and that this matter had been hanging over him for the past five years, during which his life had been placed “on hold”.

As well as the probation order, McAtarsney was ordered to take part in a programme designed to address sexually abusive behaviour and must comply with the Sex  Offenders’ Register for five years.

He is also forbidden from harassing his victim or encouraging anyone else to do so.

*In the original article we reported the judge stating a ‘mitigating’ factor was that the victim was asleep. This should have read ‘aggravating’ factor. Corrected Feb 3, 11.15am. 

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