UPDATED: Man convicted of park sex attack
A SEXUAL predator who attempted to abduct women in Little Bowden and Desborough was led to the cells in tears after being convicted of all charges.
Peter Smith (33) attacked a 23-year-old woman at knifepoint as she walked along the alleyway leading from Scotland Road to Little Bowden Rec on November 17 last year.
But depite a major police appeal and the release of an accurate artists’ impression (below), Smith was not caught until months later, after attempting to abduct a 17-year-old in Desborough on February 18.
During the trial at Northampton Crown Court, Smith, of Rushton Road, Rothwell, denied charges of possession of a bladed article, attempted kidnap and sexual assault of the 23-year-old woman and the attempted kidnap of the 17-year-old woman.
Smith, who has a previous conviction for attempted kidnap, said his intention was to rob the women.
But at the conclusion today (Tuesday) of a four-day trial, a jury of eight women and four men found him guilty of all charges.
Smith shook his head and wept as the jury’s unanimous verdicts were announced after a five-day trial.
Summing up, Judge Rupert Mayo said the jury could only convict on the two kidnap charges if they were sure they were sexually-motivated.
Adjourning sentence for probation and psychiatric reports and remanding him in custody, the judge said Smith was facing years in prison with an extended recall licence when he is eventually released. He is now likely be on the sex offenders’ register for life.
Judge Mayo added: “The question is whether I need a report and whether he is dangerous or not because I do think there is a significant risk of serious harm to members of the public by the commission of further offences.
“The sentence is likely to be an extended period of licence rather than an indeterminate detention.
“When I do sentence him, I will do so as the Crown has put it, that he is a predatory person.”
Earlier in the trial, the 23-year-old woman from the Little Bowden incident said she had been threatened by Smith with a Stanley knife.
She told the court: “It was dark but there were some street lights. There were other people about and the odd car but not a lot. I noticed a car had pulled up, as I walked past, a man got out of the driver’s seat, went around the front of the car and got in the passenger seat.
“He looked at me strangely and I felt uncomfortable. I started walking up the alleyway. I took my iPod out because the man had given me a strange look and I felt a bit uneasy. I looked back and saw the car had pulled up level with the bollards at the bottom of the alleyway.
“As I got to the end of the alleyway, I heard the footsteps of someone running behind me. I felt very uneasy and I think I said something like ‘Are you okay?’ or ‘Can I help you?’
“As I was talking I saw he had a knife and he said ‘Do as I say or I’m going to stab you’.”
“I said ‘okay’ and I held out my iPod - he didn’t even look at it. I had presumed he was trying to rob me. He grabbed my arm and started to lead me back down the alleyway. He kept saying ‘Come quickly, come quickly’.”
She told the jury how he pulled her down the alleyway , to about the half-way point.
She added: “He told me to lie down. He had the knife out all the time. I did as he said and he laid down on top of me. He was shorter than me so he came up to my nose. I kept thinking ‘I don’t want to be stabbed’, so I was doing whatever he said.
“He was trying to get my skirt up. It had a lot of layers in it and he was fumbling. After he had tried for a bit I said something like ‘I have tights on’. I think he realised he wasn’t getting anywhere and he seemed nervous.
“He pulled me up and said ‘I’m going to stab you now’ and he started to move the knife towards me.
“I really didn’t want to be stabbed so I was pushing his hand away. I’d grabbed his arm and realised at that point that I was actually stronger than him and I think he realised it too.
“I pushed away from him and started shouting for help. He looked at me for a split second then ran away down the alley. I ran back up the alley toward the park.”
She said she ran into a dog walker in the park and told him what had happened. He took her back to his house where they phoned the police.
“I was shaken for days after. I wasn’t hysterical but I was crying a lot. I was thinking logically but I wasn’t myself at all.”
The second woman Smith is accused of trying to kidnap in Rothwell Road, Desborough, three months later, also gave evidence. Neither victim can be named for legal reasons.
She said she flagged down a passing car when confronted by him carrying a knife, ordering her to get into his car.
She escaped after flagging down a passing car but remembered the registration number of Smith’s car, which was used by police to trace him.
He was charged with the Little Bowden offences after the victim identified him from a photo line-up.
Smith, who was jailed for five years for the 2005 kidnap of a 15-year-old girl in Newcastle, told the jury he was in deep financial trouble and intended to rob both women of their phones and iPods, insisting they misinterpreted his actions.
He said: “It was not about getting them into my car, it was about demanding their things from them and taking them from them.”
When asked if he was aroused during the sexual assault in Little Bowden, he told the jury it had been a Mag Light torch in his pocket.
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Weather for Market Harborough
Tuesday 18 June 2013
Temperature: 13 C to 21 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 14 C to 23 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North west