Street, Shepton assaults – man jailed

Last year we reported on three sexual assaults, in Shepton Mallet and Street. The Police from the first appeal for help suspected the incidents were linked.

Today the 36-year-old man from Evercreech who sexually assaulted the women was jailed for four years and seven months.

He had  previously admitted three counts of sexual assault, today’s hearing at Taunton Crown Court was for sentencing. After serving his time in prison, on releas he’ll be on licence for a further three years and will be on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.

At today’s hearing, Judge Cook said the man had committed serious offences which showed an “escalation in violence”. He said the offending was planned as he had “lain in wait” for his victims.

In the first incident on Tuesday 5 June, he attacked a 24-year-old woman in Somerton Road, Street. He pushed her against a wall and sexually assaulted her but ran off after she shouted out for him to stop. However the victim was able to give officers a detailed description including the fact the offender was wearing brightly coloured construction trousers.

From CCTV footage officers identified a man matching this description close to the scene of the incident and an image was circulated as part of the public appeal that The Leveller promoted.

In the second incident happened on Thursday 19 July an 18-year-old woman was attacked shortly after leaving a supermarket. She managed to force him off and run home where her mother contacted the police.

The third incident happened in Dark Lane, Shepton Mallet, at about 7pm on Friday 31 August when a 20-year-old woman was out jogging when she was grabbed around the throat and pulled to the ground. She fought back and managed to release his grip. As she tried to run off, he attempted to rugby-tackle her to the ground but she kicked him again and escaped.

In a statement given to the court, the victim described how the incident had left her “paranoid” and had affected her emotionally “I have started to go running again but I have changed my route and how far I run. I am very paranoid about seeing anyone, especially a man. The few days after the incident, I couldn’t sleep as it was troubling me and I couldn’t process what happened.”

Investigating officer DC Catherine King told us “I’d also like to recognise the immense courage shown by all three of the victims. They’ve all been through a terrifying ordeal and I hope they can move forward with their lives in the knowledge their attacker is now behind bars.”

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