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Homeless man jailed for robbery and sex assault

A Stafford man who sexually assaulted a woman and tried to snatch another woman’s bag has been jailed for seven years.

The Stafford Crown Court heard that the sexual assault took place at around 7am on 1 May this year.

32-year-old James Castle followed a woman on the cycle-path, running along the River Sow towards the town centre from Fairway, and grabbed her with enough force to send her to the ground. He held onto her and sexually assaulted her.

A woman came to the victim’s aid and a man tried to follow the attacker, capturing an image on his phone before losing him.

Officers were able to identify the man from the image and arrested Castle.

The court was told Castle had also committed a robbery in the early hours of 24 February. A woman had been walking home from a town centre pub when Castle attacked her as she reached her home in the town.

He grabbed her by her hoodie and she suffered a broken finger as he snatched her bag. The bag was found discarded later. Officers viewed CCTV from this assault and identified Castle, who had worn the same clothing for both crimes.

Castle, who had been homeless in Stafford for some time, was sentenced today (Thursday 21 November) to seven years behind bars with an extended licence for five years. He will also be required to sign the sex offenders register.

He had previously pleading guilty to robbery, sexual assault and assault.

Detective Constable Laura Board, from the force’s CID, said: “These were unprovoked attacks on lone women, who were alone at times when the streets were quiet.

“We’re glad Castle has been sentenced and thank the witnesses and people who helped them.”

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