Woman spared jail for aiding sexual assault
A Portuguese woman who helped lure a female reveller back to a bogus house party where she was sexually assaulted was yesterday spared a prison sentence.
Maitana Bernard Mendes Pereira (27), of Donegall Road, Belfast, received an 18-month sentence, suspended for two years, after she pleaded guilty at Belfast Crown Court to aiding and abetting the sexual assault at a house off the Shankill Road over five years ago.
Prosecution lawyer Robin Steer said the victim had been drinking in Belfast city centre and in the early hours of May 29, 2010 a car approached her in Little Donegall Street.
He said Pereira was a front seat passenger who asked the woman if she "wanted to go to a house party''. She got into the car being driven by Shariful Alam and it headed to Orkney Street.
"On entering the house it was clear to the victim that there was no house party, but was offered a drink instead.
The court heard Pereira and the victim started kissing before moving into a shower and started kissing further. The pair moved upstairs to a bedroom where a "sexual encouter'' took place.
Mr Steer said that up until this point it had been consensual between both parties until Alam came into the room and he sexually assaulted her.
Pereira went back to Portugal to work. But she was arrested under a European Arrest Warrant and brought back to Northern Ireland.
Judge Gordon Kerr QC was told that in her absence, Alam was convicted of sexual assault and jailed for two-and-a-half years.