Canal footpath rapist jailed for attack on terrified jogger, 23

A RAPIST has been given an indeterminate prison sentence for public protection after a judge described his attack on a jogger as "every woman's nightmare".

David Laing Taylor grabbed his 23-year-old victim as she was running on the footpath by the Leeds-Liverpool Canal in the city in July.

Putting his arm around her neck he dragged her through bushes and down the embankment while she begged him not to hurt her.

Richard Walters, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court yesterday Taylor threw away her mobile phone and pulled off one of her trainers, enabling him to partly remove her jogging bottoms and underwear.

He then sexually molested her and tried to kiss her as he held her down.

She remembers him smelling of alcohol and was frozen with fear as he continued his attack, saying: "You know what's coming next don't you."

The terrified woman promised him she would not scream if he would not hurt her further and eventually he got off her and let her dress.

He then led the way back up the embankment and she was able to take different path and get away from him.

She sought help from a man walking his dogs who had seen them both earlier on the path. That man described the woman as dazed and distressed, making a whimpering sound while her clothes were covered in dirt and blood.

When he saw Taylor leaving from nearby he realised what must have happened to her.

He was going to chase Taylor but the victim began to sob and begged him not to leave her alone and she used his phone to call the police, said Mr Walters.

Both the victim and the man walking his dogs had seen Taylor sitting on a bench near Canal Road as they passed around 7.30pm. The man remembered Taylor watching the jogger and giving him a smirk like a man might make when he considered a woman attractive.

The woman had paid no attention until she turned to run back and as she passed him he jumped up and grabbed her. Taylor was identified from DNA and fingerprints.

He had not returned to his known home address but after a media appeal was spotted by a member of the public at a bridge in Burnley.

The court heard his previous convictions included six years in prison imposed at Teesside Crown Court in 2000 for attempting to rape a seven year old girl whom he had taken to waste ground. She was found naked from the waist down after managing to escape from him.

When interviewed by police about the Leeds rape he said he had been drinking and taken drugs and if it had not been her "it would have been the next person" to come along.

Taylor, 48, of Reginald View, Chapeltown, Leeds, admitted raping the jogger on July 19.

Sentencing him Mr Justice Openshaw said it was a bad case "indeed the facts are every woman's nightmare".

He added: "The victim was seized from behind as she jogged along a canal towpath, dragged into bushes and down the canal bank while she was threatened with serious violence unless she acquiesced."

Taylor had written in a letter that after drinking and taking two lines of coke on that day, "My head now was gone and voices were talking to me." He said he was told to attack so he did.

The impact for the victim had been traumatic.

A psychiatric report and pre-sentence report concluded he was dangerous when disinhibited through alcohol and drugs.

He ordered that Taylor serve a minimum of five years minus his time on remand but warned he may spend considerably longer in jail, adding: "It seems to me it may never be safe to release him."

Simon Alexander for Taylor said he was realistic about his situation. He had expressed remorse and admitted his guilt.

After the case Det Chief Insp Simon Beldon praised the victim for her courage and said: " This was a horrendous attack on this young woman by an extremely dangerous man."