Victim outsmarted Bristol rapist Steven Strange court told
A SEX attacker was out-smarted by his victim, who took his number before he assaulted her, meaning police tracked him down and arrested him just a few hours later.
Convicted rapist Steven Strange, right, targeted the woman as she walked home alone along the A4 Bath Road after a night out with friends.
She deliberately walked past her own street so he would not know where she lived, and took his mobile phone number. After hugging and kissing her Strange, of Clifton, groped her, knocked her out and smashed her phone. But when she came round she pieced it back together and was able to give police his name.
Strange, 25, of Pembroke Road, was caught later that same day. In August this year he pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and sexual assault.
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Mark Hollier, prosecuting, said the woman had been out with friends and was walking home alone at 4am via Temple Meads and the A4 when Strange appeared, asked her for a light and chatted to her.
Mr Hollier said: "The defendant insisted he would walk her home.
"She was not keen to be walked to her home and walked past the turning to her road. She was on her phone to a friend and made contact with him. She was trying to go to his home, where she would then stay."
The court heard Strange insisted he would walk her home and, to placate him, she took his mobile number and promised they would speak.
Mr Hollier said: "He said he would text her when he got home.
"He gave her a hug and she hugged him back, like friends would hug to say goodbye.
"He then kissed her, which was not welcome, gave her a longer hug and when she said she should go home he grabbed her against a parked car and she was not able to break free."
Mr Hollier said Strange pushed the woman to the pavement, where she banged her head, and said: "If you scream I'll stab you."
Frightened she would be raped, she screamed and the attacker punched her to her face and mouth, knocking her out.
The court heard she woke up bleeding in St Anne's Churchyard, where she managed to put her phone back together and rang police with details of her attacker.
Strange was arrested at 5.15pm that day and denied all, but was picked out from an identity line-up.
He had a previous jail term for rape, the court heard.
Judge David Ticehurst was told the attacker could not face coming into court to hear his fate.
The judge imposed a sentence comprising four years' prison and three years' extended licence, for public protection.
He described the victim as robust in spirit and told the court: "She says she feels partly responsible for the sexual assault because she was walking home alone. She says 'I feel stupid'.
"She should feel no sense of responsibility whatsoever.
"She is perfectly entitled to walk home in the early hours of the morning. She is perfectly entitled to think she will not be molested by a man of Steven Strange's nature and character."
Rosaleen Collins, defending, said her client had shame and guilt and understood the impact on the victim.
She described him as a lonely young man who had had no contact with his family since he was jailed in 2007.