Leeds canal rapist 'a danger to every woman'

A rapist who dragged a woman into bushes and attacked her as she jogged on a canal bank was told he may never be released from jail.

David Taylor's attack on the 23-year-old victim was described as "every woman's nightmare" after he attacked her from behind and dragged her into bushes as she was running beside Leeds-Liverpool canal.

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Taylor, 48, then casually walked off leaving his victim bloodied and bruised but able to run to a passer-by for help after the attack on July 27.

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Leeds Crown court heard Taylor, of Reginald View, Chapeltown, has a history of sexual violence, including the attempted rape of a seven-year-old girl and indecent assault of a child under 16.

Jobless Taylor told police after his arrest: "If it hadn't been her it would have been the next person."

Police said yesterday that the victim's life had been destroyed by the attack but praised her courage in helping to bring her attacker to justice.

Taylor's DNA was soon linked to the attack and his photograph was circulated.

He was caught after being spotted sitting on a bridge in Burnley, Lancashire.

The court heard how Taylor's offending was fuelled by alcohol or drugs and he was sexually aroused by violence when in drink.

He told officers: "They give me so much strength and so much power."

Simon Alexander, mitigating, said Taylor had a long history of being homeless. He said he felt ashamed by what he had done and had pleaded guilty to rape at the earliest opportunity.

He said the attack wasn't planned and he targeted the woman after spending the day drinking on a bench beside the canal.

Taylor later told a psychiatrist that he had also taken cocaine and committed the rape after voices in his head told him to.

His Hon Mr Justice Openshaw jailed Taylor indefinitely for the public's protection. Referring to the attack he said: "The facts are every woman's nightmare."

He ordered that Taylor must serve a minimum of five years before the parole board can consider his release but added: "It seems it may never be safe to release him."

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