Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Sex Attacker Was Waiting for Jogger Victim, Court Told; Teenaged Defendant Claims He Was Trying to Rob Her

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Sex Attacker Was Waiting for Jogger Victim, Court Told; Teenaged Defendant Claims He Was Trying to Rob Her

Article excerpt

Byline: ROB KENNEDY Court Reporter rob.kennedy@ncjmedia.co.uk @ChronicleCourt

A WOMAN out for an early-morning jog was allegedly pounced on by a BMX-riding teenager who pinned her to the ground and tried to pull her leggings down during a shocking sex attack.

A court heard the woman, who is in her late 40s, was running in Ashington, Northumberland, just after 6am when prosecutors allege hooded 19-year-old Rhyss Laws struck.

It is claimed the stranger touched her bottom then, soon afterwards, "ran at her", took her to the ground and tried to pull her jogging leggings down.

The "screaming" complainant fought back with a water bottle she was carrying and suffered a broken finger in the struggle, jurors heard.

Laws, of Storey Crescent, Newbigginby-the-Sea, Northumberland, denies two counts of sexual assault and is standing trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

He denies touching her bottom at all and claims the second alleged sexual assault was in fact an attempt to rob her.

Prosecutor Jolyon Perks told jurors: "Shortly after 6am on October 7 last year, a woman was sexually assaulted while she was out running. The attack happened in a poorly-lit area opposite Hirst Park on Sixth Avenue, Ashington.

"The hooded stranger who attacked her was waiting for her as she ran past.

"She was left in shock and with a broken finger brought about by fighting her attacker off."

Mr Perks said the complainant told police the man had "run at her and effectively put her down on to the grass verge on her back" and that he had "straddled her, pinning her down."

He added: "All the time she was screaming for help.

"The male's reaction was to pin her arms down with his legs and he reached back and began to pull the front of her running leggings down.

"He repeatedly told her to shut up.

She believes she was being subjected to a sexual assault.

"It perhaps matters not whether he was scared away by the resilience of the victim or whether he came to his senses, but the attack stopped abruptly and the male rode away at speed on a small BMX-type bicycle. …

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