January 2016

Predator jailed for attack recorded on phone by teenage victim

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A sexual predator whose attack on a teenage girl was recorded on her mobile phone has been jailed for three years.

Dawei Zhang’s assault on the 16-year-old in Colwyn Bay was “the stuff of nightmares” and left his victim “shocked, frightened and upset”, Caernarfon Crown Court heard.

The 32-year-old, a Chinese national who was living on a student visa in Llys Madoc, Towyn, Abergele, was sentenced today after a jury unanimously found him guilty of sexual assault earlier this month.

The trial heard the 16-year-old was walking through Colwyn Bay in broad daylight when she was followed by Zhang, who sexually assaulted her.

When she asked him what he thought he was doing, he said he was looking for a model and wanted her to go back to his house.

He asked for her name and phone number, but the girl activated the voice recorder on her mobile phone and shouted at him to leave her alone.

Zhang assaulted her again, but she managed to escape and her attacker was later arrested.

The victim picked Zhang out at an ID parade, but he claimed it was a case of mistaken identity.

CCTV footage played to the court showed Zhang following the victim through the town ahead of the attack last summer.

Prosecutor Andrew Green described the case as “something every parent dreads – a teenage girl followed by a stranger and then sexually assaulted”.

Mr Green said: “It revealed planning and a degree of predatory behaviour, and specifically targeting a vulnerable victim.”

Simon Rogers, defending, said the jury had convicted Zhang of committing “an unpleasant offence”.

The 16-year-old, who gave evidence during the trial, also read a victim impact statement to the court today.

She said that, since the attack, she gets “very emotional” and often cries when telling others what happened.

The victim said she had tried to concentrate on school, college and remaining postive.

“I don’t want anyone else to have to go through what happened to me,” she said.

“I am petrified he will get hold of me again.”

The victim said she does not feel safe at home alone and suffers from panic attacks and nightmares.

Judge Philip Harris-Jenkins told Zhang: “You would not take ‘no’ for an answer. Your behaviour was nothing short of predatory.

“When she tried to escape, you grabbed at her bag and clothes and pulled her back towards you.

“Fortunately, she managed to break away from you and escape. How much further you would have gone, you only know.”

Sentencing Zhang to three years in prison and to register as a sex offender for life, the judge said: “Your actions on this day were the stuff of nightmares for all parents and children alike – to be stalked by a stranger and then molested.”

After sentencing, the judge told the victim he was “very impressed” with her quick-witted action in recording her attacker on her mobile phone and with the way she gave her evidence.

“You are a brave young woman and a credit to your family,” he said.