Leeds sex attacker is jailed for life

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A CONVICTED sex attacker with a history of targeting Leeds students has been jailed for life after subjecting a 20-year-old woman to a terrifying ordeal.

Leeds Crown Court heard Paul Braithwaite forced himself on the degree student in a street in the Hyde Park area of Leeds in the early hours of February 16 this year.

Braithwaite, 48, who was walking his Staffordshire bull terrier dog at the time of the attack, lifted the woman up and tried to carry her way before sexually assaulting her.

Prosecutor, Mark McKone, said: “She said she wanted to scream, but she couldn’t. He was stronger than her.”

Mr McKone said the woman struggled with Braithwaite and started kicking out before escaping. Police were called and Braithwaite was arrested.

The court heard his victim is haunted by the attack and has opted out of her degree course.

She told police in a victim impact statement: “Since the incident I have suffered from insomnia and flashbacks. It haunts me daily, It makes me shudder and I am always showering.”

She added: “I’ve lost confidence and my self esteem has plummeted. I have spent too much time thinking about that awful night.”

Braithwaite initially denied the offence but was picked out by his victim at an identity parade and police had DNA evidence.

He eventually pleaded guilty to assault by penetration on the day his trial was due to start.

Braithwaite was jailed for life and told he will serve a minimum of nine-years.

Braithwaite, of Recreation Crescent, Holbeck, was jailed for nine-years in September 1999 after he admitted kidnap, indecent assault and threats to kill.

He had beaten and sexually assaulted a 19-year-old university student in Otley Road, Headingley, and threatened to kill her if she resisted.

In 1991 Braithwaite was sentenced to 21 months after following another woman in Headingley and kicking and slashing her in the face with a sharp object after she tried to hide from him.

Mitigating, Sean Smith, said: “The defendant fully accepts responsibility for the offence.”

Jailing Braithwaite for life, Recorder Nicholas Lumley QC told him: “You may well remain a threat towards women for the rest of your life.”

After the sentencing hearing, the father of Braithwaite’s latest victim said: “As a family we are pleased with the sentence. Life imprisonment reflects the damage that he has done to my daughter.

“It gives you some faith in the fact that people who are as courageous as she is will get some protection from the justice system. It is an incredibly difficult thing for any young woman to have to give that evidence after such a terrible attack.”