His victim was walking down the street in broad daylight when he grabbed her

Brian Halfhead
-Credit: (Image: Merseyside Police)

A pensioner tailed a woman as she walked in the street before sexually assaulting her.

Convicted sex offender Brian Halfhead, who has a record of perverted crimes spanning more than 40 years, brazenly assaulted the woman in daylight as she walked in Birkenhead.

Liverpool Crown Court heard today, Monday, that the victim was walking along New Chester Road in Birkenhead, close to Rock Retail Park, shortly after 3pm on May 31 this year when she noticed the 68-year-old behind her. Halfhead, of Cross Street, was said to have made her "feel uncomfortable and uneasy" and she stopped to let him pass her as a result.

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Kevin Liston, prosecuting, described how the complainant then put her headphones on and was listening to music as she continued walking, but was then grabbed between her legs from behind. She turned around to find the defendant, who had his "jeans halfway down his legs", and shouted: "What the f***".

This was said to have "spooked" Halfhead, who ran away from the scene in the direction of the Queensway Tunnel. The woman called 999 and gave a description of her attacker, and he later arrested at the Fountain Project mental health support centre.

She was left "terrified" and "afraid to leave her own home" following the incident. The victim was even left waiting several days to visit the shop for supplies as she felt unable to do so without being accompanied by a friend.

Halfhead has a total of 17 previous convictions for 48 offences. These include indecent assault of and gross indecent with a child under 14 from 1977, indecent assault of a child under 16 in 1987 and sexual intercourse with a child under 16 in 1988.

Ken Heckle, defending, told the court: "It is alarming that he has revisited this, but there has been a long time of stability in his life. He accepts that this offence was sexually motivated.

"He has a lack of serious offending for the last 35 years. This is not somebody who is out of control."

Halfhead admitted sexual assault. He was jailed for 16 months and told to sign the sex offenders' register for 10 years.

Sentencing, Judge Robert Trevor Jones said: "This is not the first time you have come before the courts for sexual offences. There are historic court appearances, even though the last of those was now some 35 years ago.

"It is quite clear that there is an undercurrent of sexual behaviour as far as you are concerned. You are described as representing a high risk of sexual reoffending and a high risk of causing serious harm to children and females, and with that assessment I must agree."

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