A sexual predator who put a noose around a woman’s neck and dragged her away before sexually assaulted her in an incident in Holbeck has been sentenced to 12 years.
Officers from West Yorkshire Police Homicide and Major Enquiry Team launched an investigation that tracked down Ben Creek following the disturbing incident in May last year.
The victim, a woman in her twenties, was on her way back from walking her child to school, when she was attacked on a footpath that passes under the viaduct between Domestic Road and Cross Ingram Road shortly after 9.15am on 5 May 2022.
He dragged her to a nearby grassed area, choking her with the noose, and pinned her to the ground, but the victim fought back, and he was disturbed by a passer-by and ran off.
Creek was disguised in a black beanie hat, black face covering and a black coat with a fur-trimmed hood.
Detectives tracked his escape route from the scene of the attack. He initially headed south along the A643 before turning back up the A643 then along Gelderd Road onto Whitehall Road.
He was picked up on CCTV but only as a figure in the distance. He appeared to have taken a deliberately complicated route, and further extensive work had to be carried out to track his movements.
This paid off when detectives identified a CCTV camera on Dixon Lane that had captured good quality images of him walking by.
The images were posted to West Yorkshire Police social media on 15 May and immediately attracted a huge response from the public which led to 30-year-old Creek, of Britannia Road, Morley, being identified as the suspect.
He was arrested the same day and subsequently charged in relation to the incident on 5 May and a further incident on 9 May where he had exposed himself to a schoolgirl in Asquith Avenue, Morley.
He was initially charged with sexual assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and committing an offence with the intention of committing a relevant sexual offence, as well as with exposure over the incident on 9 May.
The charges for the 5 May incident were later updated at court to Section 21 Offences Against the Person Act 1861 – attempting to choke, suffocate or strangle any other person in order to commit any indictable offence, alongside the sexual assault charge.
He also admitted further counts of indecent exposure in court.
Creek, now aged 31, admitted the offences and was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court today (19 May 2023) to 12 years extended sentence.
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Suzanne Hall said:
“This was a very sinister and disturbing incident where a woman was brazenly attacked near to a busy road as she walked back from taking her child to school during the morning rush hour.
“It was a terrifying experience for her, and we know it has left her understandably traumatised.
“Detectives from the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team carried out extensive and painstaking CCTV enquiries to track Creek’s movements from the scene and this yielded good quality images of him. We had a huge response from the public to our appeal on social media, and we are really grateful to everyone who contacted us naming him.
“It was then established that just days after the attack, he had exposed himself to a young schoolgirl on her way to school leaving her significantly upset and distressed.
“These offences show Creek to be a dangerous sexual predator and we hope it will give some degree of comfort to his victims and to the wider community to know that he is now behind bars.
“Women and girls should be safe to live their lives free from the fear of violence and harassment, and West Yorkshire Police’s Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy reinforces our commitment to increasing our focus, alongside our partner agencies, to make the county a safer place.
“Taking dangerous offenders like Creek off the streets will always remain a key part of our work to keep women and girls safe.”
This post is basedon a press release issued by West Yorkshire Police
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