Falkirk sex attacker who grabbed girl and threatened her mum given lifelong sentence

A sex attacker who was armed with a "rape kit" as he pounced on a woman in broad daylight has been handed a life sentence.
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Maximiliano Moreno grabbed the 20 year-old stranger from behind as she walked home from work on June 21, 2022.

Despite him putting his arm around her throat, she managed to struggle free during the attack in woods in Falkirk.

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The terrified victim fled, but tried to capture photos of Moreno on her mobile before alerting family to her ordeal.

Maximiliano Moreno was given an Order for Lifelong Restriction, along with a custodial sentence of 32 months, for sexual assault. Pic: Police ScotlandMaximiliano Moreno was given an Order for Lifelong Restriction, along with a custodial sentence of 32 months, for sexual assault. Pic: Police Scotland
Maximiliano Moreno was given an Order for Lifelong Restriction, along with a custodial sentence of 32 months, for sexual assault. Pic: Police Scotland

Moreno, 22, today returned to the dock at the High Court in Glasgow.

He had pleaded guilty in May last year to assaulting the woman with intent to rape.

The case had been repeatedly adjourned since then as investigations were carried out into the continued risk Moreno may pose.

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Lord Matthews today decided to impose an Order for Lifelong Restriction on Moreno.

He was also told he must serve a minimum 32 months behind bars although that does not mean he will automatically be freed at the end of that sentence.

The judge said the ordeal could have been more "nightmarish" for the victim.

Lord Matthews told Moreno: "Although you have pleaded guilty, you have not properly explained why you acted like this."

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The hearing last year was told Moreno had been prowling the area in possession of a rucksack.

Prosecutor Angela Gray said it contained a "rape kit" consisting of cable ties, condoms, a pair of pliers, latex gloves and two scarves.

The young woman meantime was returning home taking her usual route that afternoon.

Miss Gray said: "As she walked along a path through a wooded area, Moreno approached from behind and put his left forearm around her neck and squeezed it."

Moreno remained silent while tightening his grip.

The court heard the woman soon started to "panic".

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Miss Gray: "She managed to drop her body weight and lower her body. This allowed her to scream as loudly as she could. Moreno loosened his grip and she broke free."

The victim got home before her mother and another relative jumped in a car to find the attacker, who had also ran off.

Moreno was soon clocked near a local supermarket.

Miss Gray: "The mother got out to follow him while shouting to a number of people to call police and that he had attacked her daughter."

As the woman approached Moreno, he yelled at her: "Get back, I've got a knife."

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The mum still followed him for a short distance joined by the victim, who captured him on her mobile.

A topless Moreno was held by police later that afternoon with a black handled knife in his right hand.

It emerged he had ditched the rucksack and a hoodie he had been wearing in bushes. These were later found by officers.

The court heard Moreno's home in Laurieston was searched and the same type of cable ties in the rucksack were found there. DNA also helped link him to the attack.

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The hearing was told the victim was "visibly shaken" when spoken to by police.

She suffered red marks on her neck, but fortunately needed no medical help.

The court was told the victim has since lost her employment due to the amount of time she needed to take off as a result of what happened to her.

Moreno also admitted last May to behaving in a threatening manner, having a knife and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

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Jonathan Crowe, defending, said: "Mr Moreno wishes to apologise to those who have been affected by these offences."

Moreno was also put on the sex offenders list indefinitely.

Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Sergeant Laura Robb said: “This was a hugely distressing experience for Moreno’s victim and I hope that today’s sentencing will provide them with some closure.

“He will now have to face the consequences of these despicable actions.

“His conviction sends a clear message that violent crimes such as this will not be tolerated and will always be thoroughly investigated by Police Scotland.

“Anyone with any concerns or information can report them to police by calling 101 or calling Crimestoppers, where anonymity can be obtained, on 0800 555 111.”