Two rape attempts bring prison time

A South Island woman has tearfully described how her life was ruined after her friend twice attempted to drunkenly rape her.

Israel Sherratt (46) of Alexandra was yesterday sentenced in the Dunedin District Court to two and a-half years in prison on two counts of unlawful sexual connection and two counts of attempted rape.

The charges stemmed from the night of December 16, 2019, when the woman — who was a friend of Sherratt’s — and Sherratt’s partner went to Sherratt’s house for a drink.

They drank wine, had dinner, and at 9.10pm, they got into a spa. After the man’s partner got out of the spa about 1am, there was consensual sexual touching between Sherratt and the woman.

The woman then got out of the spa, took off her wet togs, and went to bed in a spare room. She awoke early in the morning to find Sherratt lying on top of her, with his hand over her mouth, telling her to be quiet.

He then attempted to rape her, but was unsuccessful because of his intoxication. He sexually assaulted the woman, who told him to stop.

After a short time he gave up and lay beside her on the bed, and she told him to leave.

The victim was too drunk to drive home, and did not know whom to call, the court heard.

She passed out, and when she woke again a short time later, Sherratt was once again on top of her, with his hand over her mouth.

He again attempted to rape her, was again unsuccessful, and again sexually assaulted her.

He gave up for a second time, and later left the bedroom.

They met in the lounge later when their alarms went off for work, and Sherratt told the victim he had ‘‘done something bad’’. After she left, he sent her messages apologising for his actions and saying he was out of control.

The victim sought medical attention a few days later. When interviewed by police, Sherratt admitted attempting to rape her, sexually assaulting her, and touching her breasts.

In court yesterday, the victim recounted how after the assault she resigned her job, was unable to sleep, and struggled to trust others.

She stayed at the man’s house because she had felt safe, she said. He was the one she would have turned to for help and support, had the assault been committed by someone else.

‘‘I trusted you, loved you as a twin brother.’’

She said her life had been ruined by his actions.

Judge Jim Large began with a starting point for sentencing of four and a-half years in prison, with discounts for an early guilty plea, remorse, and previous good character.

He was ultimately sentenced to two and a half years. He would also pay the victim a $5000 emotional harm reparation.

daisy.hudson@odt.co.nz 

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