An 18-year-old man has been jailed for 16-months for sexually attacking a woman as she walked alone in Christchurch.
Vidmantas Armalis – a Lithuanian national living in Christchurch – was sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court on Friday 9 September 2016 after pleading guilty at the same court on Thursday 18 August 2016 to sexual assault.
The court heard that at around 6.40am on Sunday 10 July 2016 a local woman aged in her 30s was walking along Barrack Road.
As she reached the Stourvale Pub, she became aware of Armalis walking towards her wearing a hooded top pulled up close to his face. He looked at her a couple of times before passing her on the pavement. When the victim looked behind she saw Armalis following her. She began to feel uneasy and quickened her pace but Armalis remained close by.
Armalis then grabbed the woman, pushed her into the pub car park and sexually abused her, the court was told.
As the victim shouted and waved to attract someone’s attention, Armalis placed his hand around her mouth before letting go and running away from the scene.
The victim ran to call for help and said she ‘felt frightened for her life’.
Armalis was followed by two members of the public who challenged the defendant and took photos of him on a mobile phone. Armalis was heard to say he was going home before running back towards Barrack Road.
Armalis was later identified and arrested nearby. He told officers that he had been drinking the previous evening into the early hours and could not remember anything.
Detective Constable Steve Davis, of Bournemouth CID, said: “Vidmantas Armalis is a sexual predator who attacked a woman as she was walking alone in Christchurch.
“I would like to praise the quick thinking actions of the two members of public who saw the incident and not only approached the offender but took photos of him. These images enabled officers to apprehend Armalis in the area that same morning.
“Crimes such as this are thankfully rare in Dorset. I hope the sentence handed out by the court sends out a very clear message that such serious offences will not be tolerated in Dorset. We will investigate them thoroughly and ensure that offenders are brought to justice.”