A 66-year-old woman screamed and honked her horn as a man attempted to rape her in her car in the middle of Devonport in broad daylight, a court heard.
On Monday the Supreme Court in Burnie heard Ronald Athol Keating, 55, had previously pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and attempted rape for the incident in July last year.
Crown prosecutor Lisa Pennington told the court Keating climbed into the woman's car as she was about to leave a William Street carpark after lunch with her daughter.
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She screamed for help, and Keating punched her in the face, leaving her dazed, Ms Pennington said.
He then pushed her into her seat, jamming her right arm, pulled up her dress and attempted to prize her legs apart, the court heard.
Ms Pennington said Keating touched the woman's genitals over her clothing, and thrusted his crotch toward her breasts.
The court heard that the woman could feel Keating had an erection.
A short time later she was able to free her right hand, Ms Pennington said, and began honking the horn.
A passersby saw what was happening and pulled Keating from the vehicle and called police, who arrested Keating a short time later.
In a police interview with a support worker present Keating said he had tried to have sex with the woman.
"She screamed and he kept going," Ms Pennington said.
"He understands what he was doing was wrong."
He was released on bail, but has now been in custody since August, she said.
The victim was taken to the Mersey Community Hospital, and though no physical injuries were noted, she was clearly distressed and was prescribed a sedative, Ms Pennington said.
Supreme Court Justice Helen Wood made an order seeking psychiatric advice about Keating, who she said "appears to be suffering from a mental illness", and his suitability to be admitted to a secure mental health facility "for protection of members of the public".
The matter was adjourned until Thursday.