12:16, March 30 192 0 theguardian.com

2020-03-30 12:16:04
Serial attacker jailed for London sexual assault while on licence

A serial sex predator has been jailed for eight years for stalking and attacking a woman while on licence.

William Gordon, 34, had previous convictions for molesting females as young as 12 and had only recently been released from jail when he targeted his victim in south London early on 6 August last year.

He held the woman forcefully and ignored her pleas for him to leave her alone.

When she managed to break free, he ran after her, grabbed her from behind, pushed her against a wall and tried to cover her mouth to stop her screams as he assaulted her, the court heard.

Her shouts in Elephant and Castle alerted people in nearby houses who called the police.

Gordon fled the scene, leaving the victim filled with “revulsion and horror”, the court was told.

After issuing a public appeal, Scotland Yard received a number of calls from people who identified Gordon.

Detectives arrested him and discovered he had been followed three other lone women that night. He had also followed a woman the week before, police said.

Gordon denied wrongdoing and was found guilty at the Old Bailey of sexual assault, four counts of assault by penetration and two counts of common assault by beating.

On Monday, Judge Sarah Munro QC jailed Gordon for eight years with a further five years on extended licence.

Ruling him to be a dangerous offender, she told Gordon: “No female is safe from you and nor will they be for the foreseeable future.”

Describing it as an unusual case, the judge highlighted Gordon’s 19 previous conviction for 38 offences, mainly for drugs and sex crimes.

While serving a seven-year jail sentence, he grabbed the bottom of a female prison officer in 2017.

He was released on licence in April 2019 and was living in “approved accommodation” in Elephant and Castle at the time he attacked the woman in August.

After her ordeal, the victim, who cannot be identified, was said by her mother to have retreated “into a shell”. Formerly a “gregarious” woman, she felt trapped and had “withdrawn herself from the family network”, according to a statement from her mother on the impact.

DI Sharon Steel, of Scotland Yard, said: “At every opportunity Gordon has failed to acknowledge any wrongdoing and has instead chosen to put both the victim and witnesses in this case through a full trial.

“William Gordon is a manipulative sexual predator who poses a serious danger to women. That night he was clearly targeting lone women before he carried out this prolonged attack.

“I would especially like to commend the bravery of the victim in this case. She has helped to make sure that this dangerous offender has been rightfully convicted on all seven counts.”