A PREDATORY sex beast who changed his terrified victim’s life “forever” could be locked up indefinitely for public protection after being convicted of a horrific attack at a South Yorkshire beauty spot.
David Brian Thompson, aged 48, was found guilty of sexually assaulting and trying to rape the 50-year-old woman as she walked her dog in daylight on the Trans Pennine Trail at Elsecar Reservoir, Barnsley.
She was so traumatised she suffered recurrent flashbacks and said her life had been changed forever.
Judge Michael Murphy QC told Thompson: “The nerve and sheer desperation that could make someone attack a woman in a public place like this, regardless of the risk of being apprehended, makes me think that you could pose a very serious threat to people in this community.
“I have in mind a prison sentence which will be substantial and I am considering an indefinite term of imprisonment for the protection of the public.”
The woman, who loved to walk her dog, said she hadn’t bought another pet after her dog had to be put down because she was too scared to go out for walks alone.
In a statement to Sheffield Crown Court, she spoke of the indignity of medical examinations and tests to ensure she had not contracted a sexually transmitted infection.
Sarah Wright, prosecuting, said at around midday on June 24 last year Thompson ran up and grabbed the woman from behind.
As she screamed and tried in vain to fight him off, he forced her to the ground, pulled down her clothing and performed a sex act before attempting to rape her.
Thompson fled, leaving his DNA on the victim’s bra. She made a hysterical 999 call.
In October detectives broadcast a national appeal for information on Crimewatch.
The next day a DNA sample sent to the Forensic Science Service produced a partial match with Thompson and he was arrested. Analysis of his mobile phone put him in the area at the time.
Jurors rejected his brother-in-law’s account that he’d been with him at the time.
The jury took an hour and 45 minutes to find Thompson, of Ash Grove, Rawmarsh, Rotherham, guilty of attempted rape and two counts of assault by penetration.
DI Gary Askew, from Barnsley CID, said: “We welcome the guilty verdict and our thoughts are very much with the victim and her family.
“Throughout this 10-month investigation the victim has conducted herself with remarkable courage, dignity and resilience and this verdict will offer some closure.
“The judge indicated Thompson is facing a substantial prison sentence. This should offer reassurance to the general public that a predatory sex offender is now behind bars.”
Thompson, who has previous convictions for causing death by reckless driving in 1985 and possessing an offensive weapon, will be sentenced later this month.