A judge has praised a victim who stabbed a 'sex predator' in the neck with her keys after he pounced on her in the street. Church-going student, Joshua Okugbeni, 21, ran off with his trousers still down after the brave woman punctured his lips. He had grabbed the woman from behind as she walked to work one morning - putting his hand over her mouth and dragging her towards a wall. Okugbeni asked the victim for a kiss and pulled his own trousers down- and his victim reacted in fear she was about to be raped.
A court heard minutes earlier Okugbeni had already left another woman petrified after following her off the Newcastle Metro. He stalked her through the streets and also grabbed her with his hand over her mouth.
Yesterday, the pharmacy student was jailed for five years and four months at Newcastle Crown Court after he admitted assault with intent to commit a sexual offence and common assault.
Judge Christopher Prince told Okugbeni: “With admirable courage and presence of mind (the second victim) reached into her handbag, took out a bunch of keys and, in the belief you were about to rape her, she stabbed you in the neck with those keys. That allowed her to escape from your clutches and run away.
“She was in an absolutely terrified state, not that that must diminish the admiration everybody must have for her fighting back so tenaciously. This is every woman and man’s nightmare, that as they try to go about there everyday lives in public streets, they may be attacked by somebody like you, with an intent to commit a sexual offence. I’ve got to express the courts admiration for (the second victim’s) presence of mind in fighting back against her attacker and taking out her keys and stabbing him in the neck.”
How it happened:
The first victim was on her way to work around 6.45am last November when she ended up in the same Metro carriage as Okugbeni. He moved to sit closer to her then got off behind her at Seaburn station, following her along the platform and into nearby streets.
As she walked along he suddenly grabbed her arm from behind then pretended he just wanted directions. The woman was petrified and Okugbeni repeatedly apologised but then kept following her, as she quickened her step in fear. She raised the alarm and Okugbeni pushed her against a door and put his hand over her mouth, muffling her shouts for help.
He then gave up, running away until he came across the second victim, who is in her 30s, and fixed his sights on her.
Prosecutor Bridie Smurthwaite said: “When he saw her he crossed the road and followed her. She realised the defendant was behind her and heard footsteps getting faster and faster. As she walked into a cut, he came up behind her and put one hand around her mouth and the other around her stomach and dragged her towards the wall.”
Okugbeni told the woman "All I want is a kiss, shush, just give me a kiss" and held her against a wall by her shoulders.
Miss Smurthwaite said: “Then he pulled her trousers down and said ‘look’. As he said ‘look’ he looked down towards his trousers and she had the presence of mind to unzip her handbag and take hold of her keys. She was afraid he would rape her and thought to herself ‘I’m not getting raped by him’ and stabbed him in the neck, wounding him. He looked startled and they both ran off, him still with his trousers down.”
Okugbeni, of Cleadon-Lea on South Tyneside, pleaded guilty to common assault on the first victim and assault with intent to commit a sexual offence against the second woman. The first victim said she’d been left unable to sleep and was left feeling anxious.
She added: “This has left me terrified and so scared in case he comes back. I feel like my life has changed in an instant and I can’t get it out of my head.”
The second victim branded Okugbeni a “sick pervert” in her statement. She added: “This has left me very frightened. I believe his intention was to rape me and I think he thought I was an easy target because I’m petite. I think he is a predator and a danger to women who needs to be kept away from the public. He is a disgrace to humanity and I hope his life is ruined.”
Jailing Okugbeni for five years and four months and ordering him to sign the sex offenders register for life, Judge Prince told him: “The facts of your offending are disturbing to hear but, more importantly, they were terrifying for the two victims who were subject to them.”
Alec Burns, defending, said Okugbeni has questioned whether his drink had been spiked that night but can’t prove it.
Mr Burns added: “This is completely out of character. He is a young man from a professional, religious family and both his parents have always attended court and his pastor attends today. He understands the distress he must have caused and he has shown genuine remorse and has suffered depression thinking about what he has done to these unfortunate women.
“They are probably happy to hear he has destroyed his own life in this fifteen minutes of madness. He was studying pharmacy at university and that is not something he now is able to do. He has been helping out at his church since then and he is a young man who has helped with charities.
“It can’t be proved that his intention was to rape and suspicion is not sufficient in a criminal court. He can’t work out how he behaved like this but he offers a genuine apology.”