Sheffield sex attack teen jailed

Sex attacker Declan Cooper
Sex attacker Declan Cooper
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A grandmother subjected to a sex attack as she walked home from work now struggles to sleep and is afraid to go out at night, a court heard.

The 50-year-old was pounced upon by Declan Alexander Cooper, aged 19, as she walked home from work in Shiregreen, Sheffield, in the summer.

After grabbing her from behind Cooper dragged his victim on to grassland, told her he had a knife and held his hand over her mouth.

Sheffield Crown Court heard the woman was punched around the head as she attempted to fight him off. The defendant then lifted her clothing and sexually assaulted her, before trying to rape her.

In a victim statement she spoke of how she cannot close her eyes to sleep without thoughts turning to the events of August 9.

Katy Rafter, prosecuting, said: “The victim said that in many ways she is glad it was she he attacked that night, as she had the instinct to fight him off.

“She said she would have died before she allowed her to rape him, that given her age she realised anyone could have been his victim, and the thought of it happening to her daughter instead makes her blood run cold.

“She has tried to remain strong, but there are still days where she cannot stop crying. She says: ‘I find it hard to sleep because I cannot stop thinking of the events of that night’.”

Cooper was arrested after DNA found on the victim’s clothing was found to be a match with his. In interview he denied carrying out the attack, but eventually entered a guilty plea days before his trial was due to start.

Cooper, of Shirehall Road, Shiregreen, was jailed for six years.

Judge Paul Watson QC told him: “This has had a deeply traumatic effect on the victim. What you did will live with her for the rest of her life. It was only for her courageous resistance you were unable to commit the offence you intended to.”