'Disgrace to humanity': Churchgoer and charity worker jailed after fleeing scene of potential sex attack with trousers around his ankles

A churchgoer fled the scene of a potential sex attack with his trousers around his ankles after his victim stabbed him in the neck with her house key.

Tuesday, 5th July 2016, 10:11 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th July 2016, 11:22 am

The terrified mum, who thought she was about to be raped, wounded Joshua Okugbeni with the makeshift weapon when he put his hand over her mouth and pinned her against a wall in a deserted lane as she made her way to work.

A judge praised the married victim's bravery as he sentenced Okugbeni, a 21-year-old former pharmacy student, to five years and four months behind bars.

Okugbeni followed a woman from a Metro train in Seaburn

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Newcastle Crown Court heard Okugbeni had already put his hand over the mouth of another woman on her way to work, who he followed from a Metro train at Seaburn, Sunderland, on an early Sunday morning last November but fled when she frantically screamed for help.

It was just a few streets away from the first attack that his second victim, who he targeted in nearby Viewforth Terrace, attacked him with her key.

Prosecutor Bridie Smurthwaite told the court: "He put his hand over her mouth and another around her stomach. He dragged her towards a wall.

"She couldn't get away.

Okugbeni followed a woman from a Metro train in Seaburn

"The defendant said to her 'all I want is a kiss'. He said 'shush, shush, all I want is a kiss'.

"She told him not to do this."

The court heard it was when the attacker was distracted, after he took his trousers down, that the woman was able to reach into her handbag and grab her keys.

Miss Smurthwaite added: "She was terrified, at that point, he was going to try and rape her and thought to herself 'I'm not getting raped by him'.

"She stabbed him in the neck with her keys.

"He looked startled, they both ran off, his trousers still down."

CCTV from the area, which was played in court, showed Okugbeni pulling his victim out of sight and then them both running in opposite directions a few moments later.

Okugbeni, a respected churchgoer and charity worker, of Cleadon Lea, Cleadon, pleaded guilty to common assault on the first woman and assault with intent to commit a sexual offence on the second.

Judge Christopher Prince told him: "The facts of your offences are disturbing to hear. They were terrifying for the two victims who were subjected to them."

The judge said Okugbeni had "stalked" both women, who were strangers to him through the streets.

He said the mum who carried out the key attack showed "admirable courage and presence of mind" and added: "She reached into her handbag, took out a bunch of keys she had and, in the belief, she says, you were about to rape her, she stabbed you in the neck with those keys, causing you an injury.

"That allowed her to escape from your clutches and run away."

Judge Prince added: "It is every woman and every man's nightmare that as they try to go about their every day lives in public streets they would be attacked by someone like you, with an intention to commit a sexual offence.

"Those who plan to, and do, stalk women in the streets with a view to assaulting them or a view to committing a serious offence on them will be sent to prison."

Alec Burns, defending, said Okugbeni was of impeccable character previously and has "no explanation" for his behaviour.

Mr Burns added: "He understands the distress he must have caused.

"These two unfortunate women may be quite happy to hear he has destroyed his own life for these 15 minutes of madness."

The court heard Okugbeni quit his pharmacy course at university after the attacks.

Both women said the attacks that day have changed their lives forever.

The second victim branded him a "sick pervert" and questioned what he could have gone on to do that day.

She said in a victim statement: "He's a disgrace to humanity.

"I hope his life is ruined."