A TEENAGER was faced with 'every woman’s worst nightmare' when she was confronted by a drug-addled sex attacker on a remote bridge in East Lancashire, a court heard.
Burnley Crown Court was told the 19-year-old feared she was going to be raped when she was grabbed from behind by Lee Haslam in the early hours of November 13 last year.
He forced down her leggings, hit her on the head and dragged her by her ankles to a footbridge between Foxhill Drive and Burnley Road East, Whitewell Bottom.
But she told him there was a camera watching their every move and Haslam – who was high on a cocktail of heroin, cocaine, cannabis and alcohol, turned his attentions instead to an iPhone and money she was carrying.
Prosecutor Nicholas Flannagan said Haslam fled with the money and phone and the victim escaped to a nearby friend’s home, where she raised the alarm.
DNA from Haslam was found on the girl’s leggings and underwear and he was arrested. Initially he claimed he had been elsewhere but when his alibis proved false he refused to answer further questions.
Haslam, of Burnley Road, Crawshawbooth, admitted robbery and sexual assault, and breaching a suspended sentence order, and was jailed for six years and 36 weeks.
Passing sentence and ordering him to sign the sex offenders’ register for life, Judge Simon Newell said: “This was every woman’s worst nightmare.”
The court heard the victim’s relationship with her boyfriend had broken down, in the wake of the attack, and her confidence had been seriously affected, leaving her unable to go out unaccompanied. Judge Newell said Haslam had ‘effectively destroyed her life for the forseeable future’.
Stuart Duke, defending, said: “Mr Haslam has asked me to make a public apology to his victim – he is deeply ashamed of his actions.”
The defendant was high on a cocktail of drink and drugs, around the time of the attack, and had not been ‘waiting around the corner for some victim to come along’, he added.