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Dangerous predator caught by footprints in the snow jailed
8:00am Thursday 29th August 2013 in News
A DANGEROUS sexual predator strangled and punched a 21-year-old woman after following her from work in Widnes.
Patrick Sullivan, of Cleveleys Avenue in Widnes, had been drinking at the bar where his victim worked before the assault on Cross Street just after midnight on January 26.
The father of four had admitted ABH but had denied any sexual motive. He was subsequently found guilty of intent to commit a sexual offence at trial.
Judge Andrew Hatton said when sentencing Sullivan: “This a young woman’s worst nightmare. She was alone late at night in a quiet, secluded location and became concerned that she was being followed.
“She crossed the road twice deliberately to see if she really was being followed and you matched her every move. She was then jumped on from behind, strangled by your arm and wrestled to the ground.
“Further violence followed, including punches to her face. Your interest was not in her money or phone as she offered you both in an attempt to stop the assault. Nor was your interest in her upper body or breasts.
“Your hands went straight to her jeans. You intended to commit either rape or a very serious sexual offence.”
The court heard how heavy snow fall that evening meant a colleague, who was supposed to give the victim a lift home, was not prepared to risk driving.
Judge Hatton continued: “Within moments of parting from her work colleague, the victim turned onto a quiet residential road of terraced houses where she was strangled from behind and then subjected to an assault occasioning actual bodily harm."
During the incident Sullivan was disturbed and fled, pursued by a man and the police were called.
Judge Hatton added: “What was described as old fashioned detective work led to your arrest. Had it not been for footprints in the snow you would never have been detained.”
Sullivan, aged 52, was jailed for four years at Liverpool Crown Court on August 21. He will serve at least two thirds of his sentence before remaining on license for six years when released.
Judge Hatton concluded: “You argued that you were just messing about, a defence which was quite rightly in my opinion, nonsensed by the jury.
“I accept that you had been drinking but I do not accept you were intoxicated to the extent that you describe.
“You dealt a gratuitous kick to the back of the young women as you left and you did so as an act of frustration that your plans to sexually assault her had been thwarted.
“I consider the extended license to be necessary for the protection of members of the public from an extremely dangerous sexual predator.”
Sullivan will also be placed on the sex offenders' register for life.