A 50-year-old man has received a suspended sentence at Fermanagh Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to sexual assault and exposure.

Derek Gault, with an address of Gnagara Fold, Enniskillen, was sentenced to a five-month prison sentence that was suspended for two years.

District Judge Stephen Keown told the defendant that it was a “disgraceful incident that has left the injured party deeply affected”.

Judge Keown told Gault that if he came before the court again for any similar type offence, he “would go straight to jail”.

The court heard that a carer had visited the defendant on January 14, 2019 to bring the defendant a meal and that when she arrived Gault was sitting in his wheelchair with his genitals exposed.

It was revealed that she asked him to cover himself up but that he proceeded to corner her in the kitchen of his flat using his wheelchair to block her path.

The prosecution stated that Gault touched the victim on the thigh before reaching for the victim’s hand and placing it on his crotch telling her that “he goes mad for you when he sees you”, in a reference to his penis.

The victim had to withdraw her hand at which point she attempted to step over the wheelchair of the defendant to escape at which point Gault reached forward to grope her breasts.

The court heard that Gault had missed several hearing dates and defending barrister, Ciaran Roddy, did say that there had been “a bit of avoidance” on the part of the defendant. Mr. Roddy went on to say that instruction has been limited between himself and the defendant, but that Gault had indicated that he wanted the matter dealt with.

“He is a particularly vulnerable individual” Mr Roddy said of Gault before adding: “He does not have an effective channel to deal with such desires.”

Mr Roddy went on to tell the court that Gault had a series of complex conditions including osteoporosis and epilepsy and that he was also dependant on alcohol.

“This is a very displeasing and concerning incident and it affected the trust and care that is between a carer and a patient,” Mr Roddy stated.

The barrister went on to say that his was Gault’s first time before the court for any such offence and he also pointed to his complex medical needs.

Judge Keown told the defendant that the custody threshold had been passed but that on this occasion he would impose a suspended sentence.