Man who crept into Diss home to commit ‘terrifying’ sexual assault is jailed for life

Adrian Sharman

Adrian Sharman - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

A man who broke into a young mother's house and committed a 'terrifying' sexual assault has been sentenced to life in prison.

The victim, who had fallen asleep on the sofa in her Diss living room, 'thought she was going to die' when she awoke to find a balaclava-clad man was sexually assaulting her, Norwich Crown Court heard.

The woman was awoken by 'excruciating pain'.

Adrian Sharman, 28, held a pillow over the woman's face during the ordeal which left her 'struggling to breathe'.

Sharman punched the woman in the face after she struggled and then he fled, the court heard.

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Lori Tucker, prosecuting, said Sharman had 'been stalking' his victim, who did not know him.

He had obtained his victim's phone number and sent at least 23 text messages of a sexual nature to before the attack on March 19 this year.

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Sharman, formerly of Lower Rose Lane, Palgrave, near Diss, was yesterday handed a life sentence after previously admitting the single count of sexual assault.

He will remain behind bars until a parole board considers he is no longer a danger to the public, and must serve a minimum of five years before he can apply for parole.

A victim impact statement said the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has had 'nightmares' about Sharman being in her house and is 'still petrified to this day that he will come back and finish what he started'.

Judge Katharine Moore told Sharman: 'You pose a very real risk of committing similar or yet more serious offences against women and possibly children.

'In my judgment the risk you pose is escalating and it is presently unmanageable in the community.'

Ms Tucker said Sharman had a history of sexual offences, including possessing indecent images of children, sending grossly indecent messages and voyeurism offences - including peering through a woman's bedroom window in Diss, and allegedly trying to open cubicle doors in the women's toilets at a service station on the A14 near Newmarket.

Sharman also asked for another offence of trespass with intent to commit a sexual offence to be taken into consideration in relation to a separate incident involving another victim in December last year.

In that case the victim had again fallen asleep downstairs but woke up to see a man exiting the living room.

David Wilson, mitigating, said Sharman was sorry for the 'misery he inflicted', was somebody of 'limited intelligence' and it was his first contact offence.

Sharman's marriage had broken down following his offending, and he had not been able to see his children.

•Read the latest crime and court articles from the EDP here

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