August 2016

Soldier who stalked student and sexually assaulted her caught after pals recognised him in CCTV

A soldier who stalked a student through the streets before subjecting her to a horrifying sex attack was caught after his pals recognised him in grainy CCTV images 

Jack Kelly, 23, was on leave from the army, and due to be posted to Ukraine, when he targeted and followed a lone 19-year-old woman walking home through the university district at 5am.

She realised she was being followed in the minutes before he pounced on her from behind, clasping his hands around her mouth.

As the young woman fought him bravely, he took her to the floor and punched her in the back of the head.

Telling her to shut up, he slammed her head into the pavement five times, choked her and sexually assaulted her, before her screaming alerted witnesses who rushed to help.

A student ran to the victim’s aid after she heard her shrieking from her room in halls of residence. She described it as ‘the worst scream she had ever heard’, and feared a rape was unfolding as Kelly dragged the teenager across the floor.

A passing cyclist saw hooded, masked Kelly running from the scene while trying to adjust his trousers and chased him through the city, but lost him, David Temkin, prosecuting, told a Manchester Crown Court sentencing hearing.

Kelly took off his distinctive red hooded top in a bid to avoid detection, but police pieced together CCTV footage from across the city, and then released his image to the media as a suspect.

Recognised by friends, Kelly handed himself in.

He denied it in two interviews, before finally telling officers he was responsible for the attack on the young woman.

He said he decided to ‘take her out’ because she reminded him of his ex-girlfriend who had left him.

“It should have been a bloke”, he added, “but they don’t wind me up as much as cocky girls.”

Kelly later admitted sexual assault and assault causing actual bodily harm following the attack, which happened near Oxford Road on the southern outskirts of the city centre, yards from the city’s main university buildings, on the morning of December 15.

Now Kelly, of Merton Avenue, Hazel Grove, has been jailed by a judge at Manchester Crown Court who said his ‘disturbing’ attitude towards women was evidence that he is a dangerous offender who posed a significant risk of causing serious harm to the public.

His criminal history includes violence and harassment towards former girlfriends.

Kelly has been ordered to serve four-and-a-half years behind bars, and has been given a four-year extended licence, which means even after release he will remain at risk of being recalled to prison until 2025.