Following two terrifying early morning attacks on teenage girls in Widnes a 35-year-old airport worker was today convicted of two sex offences.

Paul Garden followed one victim, an 18-year-old girl, after getting out of his car as she walking alone to her Widnes home about 3.30 am.

When she opened her garden gate he rugby tackled her to the ground in her front garden and sexually assaulted her.

When the terrified victim screamed out hoping to wake her sleeping mum Garden put his hands around her throat and warned her not to make a noise. She did continue to scream and he got up, laughed and ran off.

Four months earlier Garden had jumped out of an alleyway, also in Widnes, as a 19-year-old girl walked past, again at about 3.30 am, and sexually assaulted over her clothing, said Ben Jones, prosecuting.

35-year-old Garden, formerly of Armstrong Close, Birchwood, Warrington, denied both offences which took place in March and July last year but was this afternoon found guilty of them by a jury at Liverpool Crown Court.

Garden, who worked at the duty free at Speke airport, had claimed that he was following the 18-year-old as he had spotted three hooded youths and was worried about her safety.

When he saw her inside her garden he claimed she grabbed hold of him and he pushed her backwards before running off.

He denied sexually molesting either victim. When the unanimous verdicts were returned by the jury of five women and seven men the victims and their supporters struggled to keep their relief in check.

Garden sat in the dock with his head in his hands.

Judge Robert Trevor-Jones further remanded him in custody until February 24 to enable a pre-sentence report to be prepared.

He made an interim order for him to sign on the Sex Offenders Register.