Derry man jailed for sexually assaulting teenager in Belfast

A Derry man once jailed for having sex with a mattress has been handed a 12 month sentence for the sexual assault of a teenager in Belfast city centre.

Friday, 20th December 2019, 3:20 pm
Updated Saturday, 28th December 2019, 1:12 am

Martin Gregory Coll (57), whose address was given as c/o Simon Community Larne, was told by a judge that he will spend six months in prison and further six months on supervised licence on his release.

Coll pleaded guilty at Belfast Crown Court to a single count of sexual assault which took place at Victoria Square in June this year.

Prosecution barrister Simon Jenkins said the 17-year-old victim was waiting for a shop she worked in to open when Coll, who appeared to be drunk, moved beside her on a bench.

The court heard Coll at first tried to kiss her hand, but she pulled it away before he tried to hold her by the back of the head and kiss her on the face.

Mr Jenkins said that as a result of the incident, the 17-year-old was “left scared and tearful’’.

Judge Neil Rafferty QC was told that Coll had 105 previous convictions, 11 of which were of a sexual nature.

In 2015, Coll was jailed at Derry Crown Court for seven months after he was caught watching pornography on a DVD player while simulating sex on a mattress in the car park of Lavery Fold on Asylum Road.

Defence barrister Sean Doherty said it was evident Coll’s “inappropriate sexual offending” resulted from his addiction to alcohol.

The barrister said: “He is homeless, he is impoverished and has a low mental capacity. He is also being bullied within the prison environment.”

Passing sentence, Judge Rafferty said it was clear that the incident had a “significant impact” on the teenager, which had increased her anxiety levels.

He added that people now have to ask the girl beforehand if they could give her a hug, including her father.

The judge imposed a five-year Restraining Order on Coll which banned him from having any direct or indirect contact with the victim.

He is also prohibited from going within ten metres of her place of work.

Coll was also made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for a period of ten years.

Judge Rafferty warned Coll that if he failed to comply with the orders he could be returned to prison.

The judge told the 57-year-old: “You have to comply with all orders given to you by your supervising officer during your period of statutory supervision. If you breach any of those orders you will be returned to prison.”