Brightons sex attacker punched woman in the face and tore off her dress

An offender was flying high on drink and cocaine when he viciously attacked and sexually assaulted a woman.

By Court Reporter
Thursday, 21st May 2020, 2:56 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st May 2020, 2:56 pm

Father-of-two Gareth Griffiths (36), of Brightons, pounced on the woman, who is in her 30s, after they argued in a taxi on the way back from a night out together in Falkirk.

The argument continued after they got back to a house in Stenhousemuir where Griffiths was staying at the time.

As she sat in a chair in the living room, Griffiths suddenly ran over to where she was sitting and punched her on the face.

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Violent sex attacker Gareth Griffiths

She jumped up, he pushed her backwards, and she fled to the kitchen where, terrified, she bit him to get him off her.

Appearing at Falkirk Sheriff Court on Tuesday, Griffiths had pled guilty to assault and sexual assault offences he committed on July 28 last year.

Michael Maguire, procurator fiscal depute, said Griffiths became even more violent after being bitten.

He added: “He jumped back and grabbed both sides of the dress she was wearing and ripped it straight down."

Griffiths then pulled her pants down to her knees and sexually assaulted her “more than once, with force”.

The woman “sank to the floor and began to shout for help,” Mr Maguire said, while Griffiths ran out of the door.

Her cries for help were so loud they woke neighbours four doors away, the court heard.

One neighbour, a nurse, ran to find Griffiths' victim sitting “distraught, upset and crying”, wearing a black dress that was ripped half-way down her front.

She was bleeding from the nose and mouth, there was blood on the kitchen floor.

She was saying “he's hurt me, he's hurt me”, the court was told.

The neighbour called police, who subsequently found Griffiths asleep outside in the woman's car.

He claimed to be “confused” about what was going on.

A doctor found the woman, who cannot be identified, was cut and bruised.

Defence solicitor Ken Dalling said Griffiths was a first offender, and had taken alcohol and cocaine while on a night out with the victim.

Sheriff Derek Hamilton jailed Griffiths for 16 months, and imposed a non-harassment order for him to stay away from his victim for three years.

He was also placed on the sex offenders' register for 10 years.

Sheriff Hamilton said: “This started with a significant physical assault by you on the complainer, and you then chased after her when she ran away and became involved in a struggle with her.

“You then ripped her dress from her and continued your degrading behaviour towards her. She was clearly left traumatised, whether this assault was sexually motivated or just cruel.”

“There is no alternative but to impose a custodial sentence.”

Detective Constable Ciaran Payne, of Falkirk CID, said today: “We welcome the conviction and sentencing of Gareth Griffiths. We are committed to tackling all forms of physical and sexual abuse.

“Any disclosures made to us will be investigated thoroughly with the utmost professionalism and sensitivity to bring perpetrators to justice.

“Police Scotland wants to take this opportunity to reach out to anyone who is experiencing or has experienced such abuse; it is never too late to report it to the police or to seek support and advice from one of our partner agencies.”