August 2018

Sex attacker who followed student and sexually assaulted her told her it was ‘just a joke’

A sex attacker who followed a university student for several minutes before sexually assaulting her twice in a Cardiff street in the early hours of the morning told her it was “just a joke”.

Joseph Wilson, 29, was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine at the time of the assault, a court heard.

The complainant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told him to go away before he said it was “just a joke”.

After carrying out the assault, the complainant ran away but the defendant continued to follow her and was found near the scene of the initial assault when the police came to look for him.

A sentencing hearing at Newport Crown Court on Monday heard that Wilson, of Llanrumney, was also found to be in possession of 0.2g of cocaine upon his arrest in July this year.

Prosecutor Kathryn Lane said: “[The complainant] went out to Cardiff city centre to socialise with friends until the early hours of the morning and left her friends and boyfriend to walk home alone. She had been drinking

“At 2.30am, she was walking [in Cathays] when she saw the defendant walking on the opposite side of the road behind her but in the same direction. He was 15 to 20 metres behind her when she first noticed him. She became nervous at that point and used a mobile phone to message a friend.

“The defendant followed her for several minutes and caught up with her. By this time the victim was by the train station (Cathays) car park and she really started to worry.

“The defendant came up behind her and as she turned to face him he grabbed her buttocks, she was wearing a dress at the time with two fabric layers on it. The defendant’s fingers didn’t touch her skin but they pushed up between her legs.

“She twisted away and said ‘what the f***’ but the defendant seemed to be smirking as if he found his actions funny and he said it was ‘just a joke’.”

After the complainant told Wilson to leave her alone, he grabbed her buttocks again and pressed further between her legs. The second grab was described as more evasive and at that point the victim felt “terrified” and ran away.

After reaching her home, the complainant phoned the police who asked her to travel with them to identify her assailant. She did and when they had returned to area where it happened, he was identified to officers. Wilson was arrested and was found with 0.2g of cocaine on him, the court was told.

In his police interview, Wilson admitted the offences but couldn’t explain why he did it and apologised.

In a victim impact statement read out to the court by Ms Lane, the complainant said she had been trying to keep her mind occupied since the incident but was struggling to block out her memory of it, especially at night.

She said: “I still don’t understand why he did it and why he said it was a just a joke, who finds that funny? I was on my own at night and he walked up behind me and grabbed me there. It would have been bad enough if he had done it once. I didn’t find it funny, I was violated.

“I have been sexually assaulted before and I didn’t let it ruin my life but I have never forgotten it. I am very wary out at night on my own and I shouldn’t have to look over my shoulder. I shouldn’t have to feel guilty for contacting friends at night just to feel safe. I should be able to go out and have fun with my friends in Cardiff whenever I want without feeling like prey.

“That man was stalking me down the street and I was sort of feeling scared of him. Since it happened I don’t feel completely safe, even during the day. When he walked down the street behind me, I felt hunted. It feels like he was doing it deliberately, it was almost as if he was getting off scaring me and that’s the only reason I can think why he followed me after the attack.

“I want the court to tell [Wilson] that sexually assaulting a woman is not a joke. What he did to me was disgusting, completely unacceptable and criminal. When I told him to stop he just did it again.”

Sentencing, Judge Thomas Crowther QC said the seriousness of Wilson’s behaviour could not be summarised better than the victim’s personal statement.

He added: “People can’t believe you acted as you did and perhaps neither can you. I accept your remorse and I accept your intoxication but an adult has to make decisions on how they live but if you take alcohol and drugs which cause you to act in an out of character way, you cannot blame anybody else.

“You terrified a stranger who has the right to walk the streets of Cardiff without the threat of being sexually assaulted. The public would be horrified if a serious sexual assault such as this did not result in an immediate custodial sentence.”

Wilson, of Ball Road, Llanrumney, was sentenced to eight months imprisonment.