Hyde Park sex attacker jailed for life
A previously convicted sex attacker with a history of targeting students in Leeds has been jailed for life, after attacking a 20-year-old student in Hyde Park earlier this year.
Paul Braithwaite forced himself on the student in a street in the Hyde Park area in the early hours of February 16th this year.
Braithwaite has been jailed for life, being told during sentencing that he will serve a minimum of nine years.
Braithwaite, 48, who was walking his Staffordshire bull terrier dog at the time of the attack, lifted the student up before trying to carry her away and sexually assault her.
The prosecutor, Mark McKone, described how the woman struggled with Braithwaite and started kicking out. She then managed to escape and the police were then called.
The victim told the police in an impact statement: “Since the incident I have suffered from insomnia and flashbacks. It haunts me daily […] I’ve lost confidence and my self esteem has plummeted. I have spent too much time thinking about that awful night.”
Braithwaite initially denied the offence but was recognised by his victim and police were then able to match DNA evidence. He pleaded guilty to assault by penetration on the day his trial was due to start.
The father of the victim said in a statement after Braithwaite’s sentencing: “As a family we are pleased with the sentence. Life imprisonment reflects the damage that he has done to my daughter.
“It gives you some faith in the fact that people who are as courageous as she is will get some protection from the justice system. It is an incredibly difficult thing for any young woman to have to give that evidence after such a terrible attack.”
Braithwaite has a history of violence against women. He was jailed for nine years in September 1999 after he had beaten and sexually assaulted a 19-year-old student in Otley Road, Headingley, and threatened to kill her if she resisted and tried to get away.
Prior to that in 1991, Braithwaite was sentenced to 21 months in prison. This was after following another woman in Headingley and kicking and slashing her in the face with a sharp object after she attempted to hide from him.
Recorder Nicholas Lumley QC told him during the sentencing that: “You may well remain a threat towards women for the rest of your life.”