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Stalker caged for sex attack in Weymouth
8:32am Friday 1st March 2013 in News
A SEX offender has been jailed for assaulting a young woman after he stalked her through Weymouth town centre in the early hours.
Ian David Hewer, of Rodwell Road, pleaded guilty to one count of assault by penetration after the attack on December 1 last year.
Dorchester Crown Court was told how the 19-year-old woman had left a group of friends after a night out and had arranged to meet another for a lift home.
Hewer, aged 40, followed her through the town and to the back of Debenhams in Commercial Road.
CCTV footage showed Hewer pounce on the victim in an alcove at the back of the store.
The court was told by prosecutor Heather Shimmen that Hewer had punched the woman twice in the head, put his hand over her mouth and told her to shut up. She said that the victim had been left severely affected by the attack, which had ruined her relationships and left her unable to pursue employment prospects.
The court was told that members of the public had heard the victim shouting during the attack and came to her aid. One caught up with Hewer after he fled and recognised him as a past work colleague. Hewer told the man that the victim was his ex-wife and that it had been a misunderstanding, so that he was let on his way. But when the man went back to the victim, he realised this was not the case and gave the police Hewer’s name.
Hewer, who has six previous convictions for 15 offences, kept his head bowed during proceedings.
In mitigation, Neil Hinton said Hewer did not know why he attacked the girl but regretted his actions.
He added: “He was affected by drink and clearly his judgement was affected by drink.
“He did end up seeing the victim of this assault in the town by herself. It seems he followed her to where she had stopped to phone her friend, and at that point attacked her. He is shocked and horrified by what he did. It is something that he deeply regrets.”
Sentencing Hewer to four and a half years in prison, Judge Roger Jarvis said: “This was a stranger assault of the most terrible kind.
“You stalked your victim and you subjected her to a terrible ordeal.
“Full credit to members of the public who came to her aid.
“Who knows what would have happened if they had not?”
Hewer was placed on the sex offenders’ register for life.
Police praise for passers by
After the case, DC Declan Cummings, of Weymouth CID, said: “This was a very serious and frightening assault and this is reflected in the severity of the sentence.
“I would like to thank the members of the public who intervened after hearing the shouts of the victim. They greatly assisted police during this investigation and without their help it may not be possible to identify the offender.
“Their public-spiritedness helped to bring Ian Hewer to justice.”