April 2015

Repeat sex offender jailed for attack in Penzance that was ‘every females’s nightmare’

A REPEAT sex offender, who subjected a terrified woman to a sexual assault, described as “every woman’s nightmare”, as she walked alone on the streets of Penzance, has been jailed – nearly three decades after he committed the offence.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was walking along Mount Street at about 1am in December 1988 when William Pope approached her from behind and dragged her towards a service lane.

Pope, now aged 54, forced the woman to the floor at which point she believes she lost consciousness, Truro Crown Court heard on Thursday.

The court heard that in 2012, Pope was jailed for a brutal sexual attack on an 11-year-old girl on a lane in Penzance in 1993.

Jason Beal, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said the next thing the woman was aware of was that she was being sexually assaulted.

“She told the defendant that there was somebody with her in the hope that it would lead to him desisting,” said Mr Beal.

The ploy did not work and the court heard Pope, whose address was given as of no formal abode, continued to assault the woman until he was disturbed by a local resident who had heard the attack.

He then ran away, leaving a pair of moccasin shoes at the scene.

Mr Beal said in 2013 tapings taken from the shoes were analysed using DNA technology which had not been available in 1988.

DNA matching Pope’s was found on the tapeings and he was arrested.

Pope admitted assaulting the woman and said that he had been drinking and watching pornography before he saw her alone on the street.

He said he led her into an alleyway before touching her inappropriately while masturbating.

Mr Beal said: “This was a matter that was spurred by the defendant watching pornography [and] becoming sexually aroused that day.”

At an earlier hearing Pope pleaded guilty to one count of indecently assaulting the woman.

The court heard Pope had a number of previous convictions from the 1980s and 1990s including for indecently exposing himself.

In similar circumstances, Pope attacked the terrified victim while she was walking alone at night and was caught after DNA evidence was reviewed and pointed to him.

Kelly Scrivener, for the defence, said the offence had been committed 26 years ago.

But Pope understood the effect on his victim and that the effect was continuing. She said: “He, through me, wishes to ensure that she is told that he is sorry for what he did to her all those years ago.”

She added that Pope had led a reclusive life and that in the years before the attack he had suffered from cancer.

She said he had had two operations and had been told that the cancer had returned, which led him to be depressed and drink alcohol.

“The time that he had spent in custody makes him understand how in future if he feels depressed and ill he is to go and seek assistance,” added Ms Scrivener.

Sentencing, Judge Christopher Harvey Clark, QC said he wanted Pope to understand how serious the assault had been.

“I described it a few moments ago as every woman’s nightmare – walking along a darkened path and being attacked from behind by a man intent on a sexual offence,” he said.

“The fear created in her mind by your activity that night has lingered in her ever since.

“She suffered nightmares; she does not like to go out in the dark and she has been a very anxious woman.”

Pope was jailed for five years.