Stafford sex attacker locked up for seven years

A homeless man who sexually assaulted a woman and tried to snatch another female’s bag has been jailed for seven years.

James Castle
James Castle

James Castle, 32, followed a woman along a cycle path alongside the River Sow near Stafford town centre at around 7am on May 1 this year, it was said.

After tracking her from Fairway, which crosses the river, he grabbed the victim with so with so much force she fell to the ground. He then held onto her as he sexually assaulted her.

A woman dashed to her aid while a man tried to follow the attacker, capturing an image on his phone before losing him, Stafford Crown Court heard.

Officers were able to identify Castle from the photograph and arrested him.

He had been homeless in Stafford for some time, it was said.

The defendant also committed a robbery in the early hours of February 24 when he attacked a woman close to her address after she had walked home from a town centre pub, said the prosecutor.

Castle grabbed her by her hoodie and snatched her bag, causing the victim to suffer a broken finger.

The bag was later found discarded.

Officers identified Castle, who had worn the same clothing for both crimes, from CCTV footage, the court heard.

He pleaded guilty to robbery, sexual assault and assault and was jailed for seven years with an extended licence for five years.

Detective Constable Laura Board, from Staffordshire Police CID, said: "These were unprovoked attacks on lone women, who were alone at times when the streets were quiet."

Castle will also be required to sign the sex offenders register.

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