A man who repeatedly raped and choked a female security guard at a construction site two years ago apologized to his victim in a Calgary courtroom Thursday.

Renno Allen Lonechild, 21, who pleaded guilty in March to sexual assault, forcible confinement and uttering death threats , asked for the woman’s forgiveness during his sentencing hearing.

"You didn't deserve to be hurt, you didn't deserve what happened to you," said a tearful Lonechild, who didn't look at the woman when he spoke.

"I know you may never forgive me, but I will continue to ask God for your forgiveness and I'll make amends to you by working very hard at being a better human being."

Lonechild assaulted the 34-year-old woman on Nov. 1, 2006, at a strip mall construction site which she was guarding overnight by herself in the 9500 block of Macleod Trail.

The victim, who cannot be named, listened as Lonechild read from a handwritten letter in court.

He said he thinks about his actions every day and prays for forgiveness and healing.

Crown prosecutor Susan Pepper asked the judge to send Lonechild to prison for up to nine years, for what she described as a 20-minute nightmare for his victim.

Pepper said Lonechild’s difficult background was no excuse.

But Lonechild's lawyer Tonii Roulston said about half the recommended time behind bars would be appropriate, since he has already spent 16 months in jail.

Outside court, she said the apology was an unusual gesture.

"Normally, the focus of the offender seems to be on himself. In this situation, the offender was focusing on the victim and the impact this offence had on the victim’s family, and on the victim herself," Roulston said.

"It was a very heartfelt apology, and insightful."

In March, the victim in a statement told the court that since the attack she is not comfortable being around men, is scared to leave home and repeatedly checks to ensure her doors are locked.

"I couldn't sleep at night and I had flashbacks, even during the daytime," the woman said in her statement.

Provincial court Judge Allan Fradsham will sentence Lonechild Sept. 12.