An apprentice jockey has been sentenced to four years in prison for sexual assault and false imprisonment.

Maurice Fitzgerald, 23, of Abbeyview, Buttevant in Cork pleaded guilty to five counts including, sexual assault, false imprisonment, assault causing harm and possession of a weapon on 20 September 2015.

The court heard that a young student experienced a "a nightmare scenario" after she was randomly selected by Fitzgerald outside a nightclub in Tralee.

The court also heard that on his arrest he told gardaí he was angry after the student rejected his sexual advances, that he was "into bondage", and that he could not control his urges.

The court was told that victim had become separated from her friends and was outside a nightclub. She had lost her mobile phone.

Fitzgerald approached her and she believed him to be "genuinely concerned for her safety", Judge Thomas E O'Donnell said during sentencing.

Fitzgerald told the student that there was a party in his flat and there were two bedrooms and she could sleep in one.

There was no party and during the night he entered her room saying he could not sleep. He made sexual advances towards her and attempted to remove her clothes.

She left the flat at around 4am and walked along the Dan Spring/Dingle road when she heard footsteps behind her and became aware she was being followed.

The court heard that Fitzgerald, who was wearing a hoodie, told her to put her hands in front of her and if she did not he would kill her.

Two men came on the scene and called gardaí who found Fitzgerald hiding in bushes. He was carrying duct tape and scissors.

The court heard he had searched the words 'girl', 'taped', and 'gagged' online hours before the incident.

Fitzgerald was on bail  at the time for a similar sexual assault offence in Tipperary.

He had been "a once promising jockey " and had suffered injuries including head injuries, Judge O'Donnell said.

"This was a frightening ordeal for the victim, a worst nightmare scenario. There was an element of premeditation and calculation even though the victim was selected at random," the judge said.

He gave him credit for his early admissions and remorse.

Judge O'Donnell complimented the victim impact statement as "erudite and profound".

The student said she had thought she was going to die.

"I honestly believed I was going to die in a terrifying, brutal way," she said. "This was the kind of thing you read about in a newspaper never expecting it to happen to you." 

She had nightmares, had lost trust in people, and blamed herself for being gullible.

Fitzgerald is serving four years for the Tipperary sexual assault.

Judge O'Donnell sentenced him to a further four years to begin at the completion of his current sentence.