Man who spent night ‘prowling’ women in Great Yarmouth jailed for attempting to rape woman he targeted

Paul Stranks was jailed for six years after being convicted of attempting to rape a woman in Great Y

Paul Stranks was jailed for six years after being convicted of attempting to rape a woman in Great Yarmouth. Picture Norfolk Police - Credit: Norfolk Police

A woman who was 'pounced' on and almost raped by a man who had been 'on the prowl' for women while she was just seconds from the safety of her own home has described how the attack has 'ruined her life'.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was walking home after a night out in Great Yarmouth but unbeknown to her was being followed by Paul 22-year-old Paul Stranks who was 'lurking in the shadows' having targeted her following a night of prowling for women in the town.

The victim was 'almost home' when Stranks 'pounced' and dragged her into a bush where he forced her to the floor and tried to rape her.

But the victim's screams were heard by a group of passers-by, prompting two of them to help drag Stranks off her with one of them punching the defendant who then ran off.

The bravery of the passers-by has been praised by Judge Anthony Bate who said but for their 'robust' intervention the woman almost certainly would have been raped.

The woman revealed the extent of the impact has had on her in a victim personal statement read out at Norwich Crown Court.

In it she says Stranks has 'ruined my life' and turned her from a 'happy, care-free girl' who was 'confident and outgoing' into someone who is 'too scared to go out' and who still has nightmares and flashbacks of 'him on top of her trying to strangle her'.

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The victim said she has lost her job and has suffered the breakdown of a relationship since the incident which has also resulted in her being treated for depression.

Stranks, of no fixed abode, appeared at court yesterday to be sentenced having previously admitted attempted rape on March 27 this year and a second offence of escaping from lawful custody while he was being treated at Hellesdon Hospital after his arrest.

He was jailed for a total of six years and four months and put on the sex offenders register for life.

Andrew Oliver, for Stranks, said his client, who should be given credit for his pleas, has suffers from mental health issues which are linked to this offence which was committed after he had been drinking and taking drugs. He added he was ashamed of his actions.

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