A RIVERINA man has been sentenced to a maximum of seven years and three months' jail after he tried to choke a woman multiple times before indecently assaulting her.
Benjamin Wade Wright, 32, appeared in Wagga District Court last Friday after a jury found him guilty of entering a house intent on indecently assaulting the victim, which was aggravated by knowing that she was inside.
The jury also found the West Wyalong man guilty of trying to choke and indecently assaulting her.
The verdicts were delivered in June after Wright had pleaded not guilty to all charges and went to trial.
Court documents state that in March 2017, Wright went inside the victim's house, grabbed her throat and pushed her on to the lounge.
He put his hands around the victim's throat and tried to choke her four or five times.
Wright then tried to pull her shorts down before he forcibly put his hands down her pants and inside her underwear.
The assault lasted for about one minute. The offences happened after Wright followed the victim to her premises for a cigarette.
In her evidence, the victim said she was scared and she thought she was going to die.
In his remarks, Judge Gordon Lerve said he accepted the victim's "fear was very real".
"The victim was scared and thought she was going to die," Judge Lerve said.
"The conduct occurred over a short period of time but was in the victim's home."
Judge Lerve said the sentence imposed would be substantial and by far the longest sentence so far imposed on the offender.
He also said that while there were positive signs in relation to rehabilitation, it will depend on whether Wright remains abstinent from illicit substances and how meaningfully Wright engages with the appropriate agencies after his release.
"There is no material which would justify a finding on balance that the offender is remorseful," Judge Lerve said.
Also tendered to the court was a psychological report in relation to Wright's history of substance abuse.
The author of that report, however, stated that her opinion is that the Wright's symptoms did not suggest the presence of a current mental health disorder.
It was also submitted that Wright got in with the wrong crowd and he was not receiving emotional support, which was the catalyst for the offences.
The Crown had argued that Wright was a bully and a thug, and had not shown any personal responsibility.
Wright had been in custody since December 2017 before sentencing.
With a non-parole period of five years, he will be eligible for early release in December 2022.