July 2005

Sex attacker is jailed

A teenager who molested and mugged lone females in a series of random street attacks was jailed for eight years yesterday and placed on the sex offender register for life.

Peter Beaton targeted eight strangers within two months all within 500 metres of his home in Heaton, Newcastle.

The 19-year-old mugged two women for their handbags, sexually assaulted two others and both robbed and molested another four, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

His reign of terror finally ended when one of the women alerted police after spotting him in the street, the court was told.

His victims included a teacher, an office worker, two students and a nursery assistant.

The first attack happened on June 3 last year when Beaton jumped on a girl of 17 after cycling up behind and deliberately crashing into her.

He pushed her into a garden, threatened to kill her if she screamed, put his hand over mouth, ripped at her clothing and molested her before fleeing. In another attack he pushed a student into some bushes after pouncing from behind, threatening to kill her and pulling at her clothes.

He eventually left the scene after punching her hard in the side of the face when she tried to kick him in the groin.

Beaton also followed another woman along the street, ripped open her shirt and pulled her to the ground.

He made off with her handbag containing her mobile phone which he later used to send obscene text message to the victim’s boyfriend. He also rang his victim at her home, said Robin Patton, prosecuting.

In the final attack he followed and molested a woman near a supermarket car park after putting his hand over her mouth and forcing her to the ground.

Beaton, of Lynemouth Place, Heaton, admitted offences of sexual assault and robbery between June and August last year.

Passing sentence, Judge Tony Lancaster said he took into account Beaton’s pleas of guilty, his age and previous good character and remorse.

But he told him: “I am sure you specifically targeted your victims whom you saw as vulnerable and you were confident you could overpower.

“Of the eight women involved, two were robbed of their handbags, two were subjected to unpleasant sexual assault and four were subjected to both indignities.

“The robberies were frightening enough in my judgment, but the sexual assaults must have brought even greater fear to your victims who must have thought worse was going to happen to them.

“The facts and the number of females attacked by you leads to only one conclusion – you represent a significant danger to women.”