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Highbury sex attacker convicted after victim’s Facebook hunt

PUBLISHED: 15:03 14 January 2011

The Old Bailey

The Old Bailey

Archant

A SEX attacker who was caught after his victim turned detective to track him down on Facebook is facing years behind bars today.

Alpha Gray, 30, of Aubert Park, Highbury, followed the 27-year-old down the street before pushing her to the floor 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 nearby.

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.

The Judge Recorder Sally O’Neill QC said Gray would be sentenced on February 11.

A statement from the victim was read out in court about the effect of her ordeal.

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 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.”

During the trial the victim told the court she “tried to help” police by logging on to Facebook and tracking down the assailant.

Speaking from behind a screen, she said: “I entered Alpha Gray because I thought it was an unusual name. I thought it was a street name or something, not a real name.

“A picture came up and there were about four different Alpha Grays and it showed that this Alpha Gray knew someone I knew.”

On June 1, she was interviewed and was also asked to pick out Gray in a video identification parade.

“When I saw him it took my breath away and I moved away from the TV,” she said.

“He was the only person who made me do that.”

The court heard she was walking home when Gray came up to her and said: “Hello sexy, where are you going?”

“She said she was going home and he said: ‘No you’re not, you’re coming to with me to my yard in Holloway’,” said prosecutor Gopal Hooper.

“He then went on to say his name was Alpha, which is rather an unusual name.

“They walked further up and that is when things started to turn quite nasty.

“He was grabbing her quite hard on the arm and he was holding her quite hard.”

Gray then pushed her down onto a flight of stairs, unzipped his trousers and attempted to force her to give him oral sex.

But when she refused, he said she would have to watch him instead and pulled down her top, exposing her breasts.

She managed to push him away but he yanked her by the hair and as she struggled free again he then pushed her onto a parked car.

The victim finally managed to run off, but then turned around to find Gray right beside her.

“He then punched her hard, enough to cause her to fall,” Mr Hooper said.

“She got up and she said she was hit several times.”

He then repeatedly apologised to her and even offered her his phone so she could call for help, before he ran off.

When police arrested Gray at his brother’s home on May 31 after the victim’s Facebook hunt, he admitted being at a nearby club till around 1.30am but denied the attack.

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


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