Woman dragged, stripped half-naked, and told ‘I’ll kill you’ in sick sex attack

A pervert high on monkey dust tried sexually assaulting a woman in a bush weeks after mugging a schoolgirl.

Craig Fairclough grabbed hold of his victim's mouth on a canal towpath and pushed her over before chucking a coat on her head.

The thug, 33, stripped the woman naked from below the waist and put his hands between her legs until she fought back and escaped, leaving her clothes and shoes behind.

Police found the victim in a 'distressed' state at 4am in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent on November 19 last year and retrieved her belongings.

Fairclough has been jailed for eight years at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court and placed on the sex offenders' register for life.

The attack happened weeks after the defendant tried to rob a 12-year-old girl of her mobile phone as she walked to school, StokeonTrentLive reports.

But he was traced as when he discarded his clothes he left his phone in the pocket.

Prosecutor Nick Tatlow said of the frightening November 19 attack: "The defendant indicated he was going there for a pipe of monkey dust. She followed him.

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"He grabbed her and put his hands around her mouth and threw her to the floor. He told her if she screamed things would be made worse for her."

Tatlow went on: "He tried to push her through and into a bush. He pushed her. She fell to the floor. He put a coat over her head. He removed her trousers, trainers, and socks and started to twist her around.

"He dragged her, causing bruising to her arm. She decided it was safer to co-operate. She tried to fight him off initially."

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The court heard the defendant attempted to assault his victim by penetration. He pulled her top up and touched her breasts.

Mr Tatlow said: "He gave up and stopped and told her they were going into Hanley. He said, 'Tell anyone and I will kill you'."

The victim was seen by police walking along the streets at 4am in great distress. Officers recovered her trousers, trainers, and socks from the scene of the attack.

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She was left with abrasions to her legs, feet, and buttocks and bruising to her arm, the court heard.

In a victim statement, she was degraded and humiliated and now feels like a 'broken shell'. She said every day since the attack has been traumatic and she has nightmares and severe flashbacks.

The incident happened about six weeks after the defendant tried to rob a 12-year-old schoolgirl of her mobile phone at 7.50am on October 7.

He was arrested and interviewed on October 9. He admitted trying to take the girl's phone because he was desperate to speak to his children and had no credit.

The judge said the sexual offences against the woman on the towpath happened at an 'isolated spot'.

If you or somebody you know has been affected by this story, contact Victim Support for free, confidential advice on 0845 30 30 900 or visit their website, www.victimsupport.org.uk.

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