Sex attacker assaulted woman in side street after she'd crossed road 'several times' to avoid him

·2-min read
James Cooke. See SWNS story SWNNassault. A sex attacker followed a woman late at night as she waked home and sexually assaulted her down a side street. James Cooke, 31, walked behind the victim as she crossed over the road several times to avoid him, then grabbed her from behind. The woman in her 40s was walking in Brighton, East Sussex, at around 3am when she was attacked in the early hours of September 11. Cooke followed her towards the city centre and despite trying to evade him, the thug grabbed her and sexually assaulted her.
James Cooke walked behind his victim as she crossed the road several times to avoid him, then grabbed her from behind and sexually assaulted her (SWNS)

A sex attacker assaulted his victim in a side street after following her home from a night out.

The woman crossed the road several times to avoid James Cooke, 31, but he caught up with her and grabbed her from behind before dragging her into a side street.

The woman, aged in her 40s, was walking towards Brighton city centre at around 3am on 11 September.

Local residents heard the woman's screams and called police. Cooke fled but had been caught on CCTV.

Footage of a man matching the victim's description of her attacker buying beers from a nearby shop was shared with police, and card details from the shop led them to Cooke. He was arrested on 6 October.

During interviews with detectives, Cooke admitted being the man in the CCTV and was charged with assault on a female by penetration.

Cooke was jailed for four years and eight months with an extra three years on licence at Hove Crown Court on 3 May.

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He pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing and was also put on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.

Investigating officer Detective Andy Scott of Sussex Police said on Monday: “Women should be able to walk alone through the streets of Brighton and Hove, at any time of day or night, without the fear of being attacked by dangerous predators like James Cooke.

“This was a terrifying ordeal for his victim, who has shown incredible bravery in supporting the investigation and helping to put her attacker behind bars.”

A restraining order was also made, banning the defendant, who lives in Brighton, from contacting his victim or entering the area of the seaside city where the attack took place.

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