The owner of a Chinese takeaway who sexually assaulted a young woman then "barked like a dog" on the street after following her home was starting a six-month stint behind bars yesterday.
Yuwen Chen, a father-of-three from Graymount Terrace in Newtownabbey, will spend an additional 10 months on licence when he is released from prison.
Belfast Crown Court heard the incident involving Chen (36) and the young woman occurred at his takeaway in North Belfast on December 23 last year.
Crown prosecutor Philip Henry revealed Chen initially also faced a charge of false imprisonment, which was subsequently subsumed into a charge of sexual assault.
Mr Henry said on the evening in question, Chen was working in the takeaway where he offered the 18-year-old complainant some whiskey. Chen was unsteady on his feet, told the young woman he loved her and tried to kiss her.
He then pushed her to the floor, got on top of her, sexually assaulted her and tried to kiss her again. Throughout this, the woman was telling Chen to stop.
Mr Henry said Chen then began to vomit and at this point the woman tried to leave the premises but couldn't get the door open. Chen again grabbed her but she shoved him away and managed to flee onto the street.
However, she was pulled back inside the premises where Chen again tried to force himself on her. She made a second attempt to flee and once on the street she was chased by Chen, who pinned her to the pavement.
When she started screaming, Chen tried to cover her mouth. She managed to shove Chen off and a male, who came to her aid, punched Chen and then walked her home.
Mr Henry said Chen then followed the woman home and told her he was sorry. He also got down in his hands and knees outside her home where he "barked like a dog" then "lay down and tried to sleep".
Chen was arrested at the scene and when questioned about the incident he claimed he couldn't recall what happened as he had drunk too much.
Despite initial denials, Chen admitted a charge of sexual assault.
The young woman's mother later reported when her daughter came home she was upset and in a state of shock. Her jeans were also ripped and her knees were cut.
Defence barrister Michael Tierney said Chen came to Northern Ireland in 2012 as a legitimate asylum seeker who fled religious persecution in his native China. He added that, after arriving here, Chen has been industrious and set up his own takeaway business.
The defence barrister said Chen was "ashamed by what he did and everything that followed from that", adding his remorse was genuine. Mr Tierney concluded by saying Chen "has been drink-free" since the incident.
Jailing Chen, Judge Smyth told him: "This was a sustained and determined effort on your part to have sexual contact with her against her will... and you ignored her repeated attempts to get you to stop. You then tried to stop her leaving the premises."
Judge Smyth said while she accepted Chen's behaviour was "completely out of character" and that he consumed a lot of whiskey, he needed to tackle the underlying issues such as sexual consent and alcohol misuse. This, she said, could be done during his 10 months on licence.
As well as being handed a 16-month sentence, Chen was made the subject of a five-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order and he will be on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.
Judge Smyth added: "There can be no doubt this must have been a very frightening experience for this young woman."