A 34-year-old woman was so traumatised after being attacked by a former Dundee man she ended up losing her home.
Teeside Crown Court was told Ian Noble, 44, formerly of Thorter Row, Dundee, followed the vulnerable woman before grabbing her around the chest, clamping a hand over her mouth and demanding the woman’s mobile phone.
The victim, who was speaking to a friend on the phone at the time, screamed for help and told her friend to call the police.
Noble, who was wearing a hoodie, let her go when he realised someone was alerting the police.
The court heard Noble was an alcoholic who had spent the day drinking in woodland near his parents’ house in the Mowden area of Darlington before the attack.
A victim impact statement, read to the court by prosecutor Harry Hadfield, said Noble’s victim began taking medication in the wake of his attack in October last year but eventually lost both her job as a result of the incident.
He said: “She was a lone female in a lonely spot walking along a footpath in a wooded area and he was wearing a hood at the time. There was no way of knowing what his intentions were.”
Mr Hadfield said Noble had let go of the woman and run away when he realised she was calling the police.
However, his victim turned around and was able to get a good look at him before he fled the scene.
Noble’s solicitor Chris Baker said Noble was an alcoholic who had never been in trouble before.
He added that he had pleaded guilty when he appeared in court earlier this year and that he had since lost his job in Dundee and was now back in Darlington living with his parents.
Judge Peter Armstrong sentenced Noble to two years in custody.
He said: “Firstly, she thought she was going to get sexually assaulted, secondly, the offence against her had had a devastating impact on her.”