'Highly dangerous man' sexually assaulted woman who was locked out of her house

John Ward
John Ward

A “highly dangerous man” who attempted to rob a  woman while she was locked outside her home before sexually assaulting her has been jailed for 10 years.

Vile John Ward, 32, told his terrified victim that he had a “big knife” in his pocket as he marched her to a cash point and demanded money.

Prosecutor Alex Burns told Newcastle Crown Court how the woman had just returned from visiting a friend last year when she was attacked.

He explained how she got to her front door with her luggage, which included designer handbags, before realising that she had given her key to someone she lived with.

Mr Burns said: "She decided to sit on the door step with her luggage and wait 15 to 20 minutes later the defendant walked past and asked for the time.

"He started to tell her he had been in Afghanistan and lifted his t-shirt to show a bullet injury - though she could not see as it was dark.

"She was very concerned by this, it seemed odd to her to say the least.

"He said someone could rob her 'like this' and took her bags."

Mr Burns explained how the scared victim was then marched to an ATM where he told her to withdraw £100 in exchange for the bags, but the machine would not give her any cash.

They then walked back to the victims' address to find her housemate had still not returned.

Mr Burns added: "She was unsurprisingly terrified. Part of that terror was that he claimed he had a very big knife in his pocket and would use it if she did anything stupid.

"She knew something was wrong in the way that he was telling her he thought she was beautiful and offered her jobs in prostitution. He wanted her to sell cocaine for his friend.

"She tried to appease him to make sure nothing happened to herself. He put his hand down her baggy jeans. He kept it there for about a minute.

"He told her he knew she wanted him. It was a prolonged and sustained incident. This must have been horrendous for her."

Mr Burns explained how the horrifying attack only came to an end when the defendant took her to another house and a female occupant distracted him while she 'ran for her life'.

Shortly before the late-night incident, Ward entered a nearby house which was occupied by a number of 16-year-olds who were having a house party.

The defendant pretended he knew the partygoers, but left when challenged - making off with a watch, a jacket and a bag of firewood.

Ward admitted dwelling burglary, attempted robbery and sexual assault by penetration.

Mr Burns said that the defendant has a “considerable” criminal record including previous convictions of rape, robbery, attempted robbery, possession of a knife and possession of an offensive weapon.

The court was told how during the previous rape conviction, he told his victim that he would kill her if she refused to have intercourse with him.

Christopher McKee, defending Ward, said: "These offences were not premeditated. It cannot be inferred that there was a degree of planning.

"I do not contest that this was terrifying. Though the threats were made it transpired that the defendant was not in possession of a weapon.

"He has spent most of his life incarcerated in the prison system. He has found himself battling addiction and depression."

Sentencing him to 10 years in prison, with an extended licence period of five years, Judge Simon Batiste said: "You put your hand down her knickers. She asked you to stop because you were hurting her.

"It is inconceivable that there will have not been some psychological harm caused by that behaviour.

"This was an extended incident and a terrifying incident. A substantial custodial sentence is necessary in this case.

"I am satisfied that you are posing a very serious risk of serious harm. You are a highly dangerous man who will go to terrifying length to satisfy your drug habit and sexual pleasure.

"You has only been released a matter of days when this offence took place. I must do what I can to protect the public."

Ward, of no fixed abode, must also sign the sex offenders register for life.