Schoolgirls’ park sex attack ordeal

WARNING: This court report contains some language, given as part of the prosecution evidence, which some readers may find mildly offensive.

A terrified schoolgirl fought off a 19-year-old sex attacker who struck in broad daylight in a Clitheroe park.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Dylan Mawdsley approached the 14-year-old victim and her friend while they were sitting on a bench in the grounds of Clitheroe Castle at 2-30 pm on October 3rd.

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Mr Stephen Parker (prosecuting) said Mawdsley, previously of Burnley, spotted the teenagers and walked past them. Five minutes later he returned and tried to strike up a conversation with them asking “if they were ok?” Both girls ignored him at which point he asked what was wrong, followed by: “Do you want to see a big dick?”

One of the girls then got up and the victim – the other girl – was seconds away from following her when she was suddenly grabbed by the defendant in a “bear hug”.

Mr Parker explained: “The victim was terrified, panicking, screaming and trying to kick the defendant to make him let go.”

The prosecutor added that Mawdsley was thrusting his pelvis backwards and forwards to simulate sex.

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“The victim continued to shout for her friend or for anyone else to help her when the defendant told her not to shout,” said Mr Parker.

“Eventually the victim managed to break free and a few minutes later found her friend in the grounds of the Castle and some lads nearby who all went to the police to report the attack. She cannot remember how long the attack lasted, but she was trying to break free for quite some time.”

The court heard that an appeal for information to track down the attacker was launched immediately. The next day, October 4th, police responded to an emergency call after a man threatened to throw himself under the next train at Davenport Railway Station in Stockport. When officers arrived on scene, they found Mawdsley, who was “very very drunk”.

An officer from British Transport Police took him to Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport, where a mental health practitioner carried out an assessment. It was during this that Mawdsley admitted the attack in Clitheroe and said he had been experiencing “sexual thoughts about women, especially young women”. He was arrested and charged with sexual assault on a female contrary to the Sexual Offences Act 2003, to which he pleaded guilty.

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Judge Andrew Woolman sentenced Mawdsley to a community supervision order for two years and ordered him to complete a sex offender treatment order. He pointed out that he had already served 53 days in prison on remand and therefore it was important that he completed the order.

He added: “I cannot imagine what possessed you to behave in this way in broad daylight. You simulated sex and you must have scared the life out of the 14-year-old girl. You were obviously in a very very bad way.”

Mr Saul Brody (defending) told the court Mawdsley’s prison experience had changed him: “He has expressed genuine remorse and admits his custodial experience has humbled him. He has had time to reflect on what he has done, feels so ashamed and realises the seriousness of what he has done,” explained Mr Brody.

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