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Highbury rapist snared by Facebook jailed for six-and-a-half years

PUBLISHED: 11:41 11 February 2011

The Old Bailey

The Old Bailey

Archant

A SEX attacker who was caught after his victim tracked him down on Facebook was jailed for more than six and a half years today (Friday).

Alpha Gray, 30, of Aubert Park, Highbury, followed the 27-year-old down an Islington street before pushing her down and trying to rape her.

He yanked the woman’s top down and punched her several times in the face before running off.

But during the attack late on May 29 last year, Gray made the mistake of telling the woman his name, age and that he lived in the Holloway area.

The distraught victim helped police find him after tapping in “Alpha” on Facebook and finding the defendant staring back at her.

The mother-of-four even discovered they had a mutual friend on the social networking site.

Gray was convicted of attempted rape, sexual assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm after a retrial at the Old Bailey.

A jury was unable to reach verdicts at a first trial in December.

Passing a sentence of six years and 26 weeks, the Judge Recorder Sally O’Neill QC said: “It may be that you did not intend to attack her because you gave her your name, age and where you came from, but attack her you did in a brutal and very frightening way.

“It was only through her resistance and through her courage from what she said in refusing to do what you insisted you wanted her to do, that the full offence wasn’t committed.

“You then chased off after her and attacked her violently.

“You then had a bizarre change of character and apologised for what you had done, but it was too late by then.

“This was a very frightening attack on a young woman.”

A pre-sentence report stated that Gray presents a “serious risk of harm to the public” - but the judge said she would not jail him indefinitely,

The victim was in court to hear Gray sentenced, and a statement about the effect of her ordeal was also read out.

She said: “After the attack I was in a state of shock, disbelief and confusion that something like that could happen almost on the doorstep of where I lived.

“Having to relieve the event during the court trial I found very distressing. I have not felt safe even when in my own home.

“I do not like to go out alone. I always make sure there is somebody with me.

“I have at times wondered if it was worth the stress of going to court. But I knew I had to stop this man from doing this to anyone else.”

The court heard that despite the jury’s verdict, Gray still denies the full extent of the attack, claiming he was drunk because his brother had died two weeks before the incident and he was struggling to cope with his grief.

Gray denied attempted rape, sexual assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.


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