A dangerous Lithuanian rapist whose victim leapt “totally naked” from a first floor balcony in a bid to escape him has been handed a nine year jail sentence.
Audrius Silinskas was in Northern Ireland illegally when he twice raped the woman.
His vulnerable victim was so terrified she had leapt from the balcony and ran up a street shouting for help before finding sanctuary in a nearby house.
Handing the 41-year-old the extended sentence at Newry Crown Court, where the defendant appeared by videolink from prison, Judge Gordon Kerr QC said “this was an offence that went well beyond the aggravating factors”.
However, he gave credit for Silinskas’ plea which had spared the victim from having to travel back to Northern Ireland to testify and “be forced to relive her harrowing ordeal".
As it is an extended sentence Silinskas will have to serve at least six years behind bars before he can apply to the parole commissioners to be freed on licence, and if deemed not safe to release, he may have to serve the full nine years in jail.
When he is eventually released, Silinskas will have licence conditions hanging over him for whatever period is left of his sentence, plus an extra two years of an extended licence.
At an earlier hearing Silinskas, with an address on Castleblaney Street in Newtownhamilton, entered guilty pleas to charges of rape arising from an incident on August 15, 2019.
During his sentencing remarks, Judge Kerr outlined how the victim had travelled to Northern Ireland from Lithuania to find work and having been collected from Belfast International Airport by Silinskas, she went to his home where he was drinking “neat whiskey and vodka”.
When she refused his initial advances, he pushed her onto a bed and declared “that this was his house and she would do what he wanted,” ordering her to take her clothes off.
“Despite her protests he commenced to rape her,” said the judge.
He told the court the victim “tried to struggle and shout for help,” even grabbing a small pair of scissors from a bedside table “to try to stab him to get him to stop”.
Silinskas was “violent, angry and aggressive” and told her that “she would do what he wanted her to do” but she ran down to the first floor and jumped, completely naked, from a balcony on to the ground and ran into the street shouting for help.
Having found sanctuary in a house, the police were called and they were able to follow a trail of blood back to the flat where the woman was attacked and arrested Silinskas who refused to answer police questions.
Meanwhile the woman was treated for multiple cuts, abrasions and bruises, including around her neck from Silinskas strangling her, injuries which “supported the fact that the incident had taken place as described by the victim”.
Police enquiries revealed that Silinskas had convictions for rape and serious violence in his native country and that despite having been deported from the UK in 2017, he had returned.
Judge Kerr told Silinskas his previous offences were an aggravating factor in the rape, as was the fact that his victim was vulnerable having just arrived in the country.
Although the PPS had asked the judge to consider imposing a Sexual Offences Prevention Order he declined to make such an order, highlighting that Silinskas was likely to be deported at the end of his sentence.
Ordering the rapist to sign the police sex offenders register for the rest of his life, Judge Kerr concluded that if it transpired he was not to be deported, “the prosecution have the power to apply for a SOPO”.
The PSNI welcomed the sentence.
Detective Constable Mallon stated: “The woman in this case displayed immense courage in seeing this investigation through to a successful conclusion. I hope that her tenacity and resolution to bring this man to justice will encourage anyone else who has experienced any form of sexual abuse to come forward to police.
“Officers in the Police Service of Northern Ireland remain committed to investigating all reports of sexual offences. We will seek to place offenders before the courts so they can be made amenable for their crimes.
“I would like to take this opportunity to assure any victims of sexual abuse that they will be treated with sensitivity and respect, and I would continue to encourage anyone who has experienced any form of sexual abuse to contact police on 101, or 999 in an emergency.”
Nexus NI offer counselling services and support to people who have been affected by sexual violence in any form. It can be reached at (028) 9032 6803 and nexusni.org. The Women’s Aid 24-hour Domestic and Sexual Violence Helpline is at 0808 802 1414 and www.womensaidni.org