Sex attacker jailed for attempted rape of jogger on canal towpath

A SEX attacker has been locked up for public protection after he tried to rape a woman jogger on a city centre canal towpath.

Jonathan David O’Hare struck in daylight on June 17 by the Leeds Liverpool Canal chasing his victim when she tried to run away from him, Leeds Crown Court heard yesterday.

When he got immediately behind the 26-year-old jogger he put his arm across her neck and shoulder to push her to the ground before putting his hand over her mouth to silence her screams.

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When she continued to shout and struggle he punched her to the back of her head, repeatedly telling her “Just give me what I want”, Jonathan Sharp prosecuting told the court.

Her attacker was sitting astride her first pulling at her jogging bottoms, but then started taking his own down as she kicked out.

Fortunately a passer-by, Anthony Bowyer, heard her screams and went to her aid, shouting at the attacker who ran off. Two other women also gave her assistance while the police were called.

O’Hare was arrested later that evening in an agitated state.

While in custody at the police station he had to be handcuffed with his hands behind his back after he tried to remove any DNA from under his fingernails by spitting on his hands and biting “his nails to the quick”,

Only five weeks before that attack O’Hare, who had a previous conviction for indecent assaults, was given a community order and sexual offences prevention order for harassment after he followed a 13-year-old girl into Cleckheaton bus station and made sexual remarks to her. He also distressed another teenager aged 18 in a shop trying to chat her up before waiting for her outside.

O’Hare, 27, of Westbourne Mount, Leeds, admitted attempted rape and was given an indeterminate sentence for public protection after Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said he was satisfied he posed a continuing threat to women, fantasising about committing sexual offences in secluded areas.

He added: “This was an attack on a stranger, a lone woman by the canal. You were under the influence of alcohol and drugs and you have a very troubling criminal record.”

He said the reports showed O’Hare had never been in a loving relationship, had a preference for rough sex, regarded women as sex objects and appeared “sexually pre-occupied at this time”.

Ordering him to serve a minimum of three years, the judge stressed O’Hare would only be released when no longer considered a danger by the Parole Board.

He ordered Mr Bowyer be paid £200 from public funds for his actions.

O’Hare told his victim in court: “I’m truly sorry from the bottom of my heart.”

Lindsay Lobley, representing O’Hare, told the judge he understood the impact of his offending and accepted responsibility for his actions. He was now free from methadone in prison and had demonstrated a wish to undertake courses.

Detective Chief Inspector Scott Wood, from West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: “Jonathan O’Hare is a dangerous individual who carried out a determined attack on a young lady out jogging along the canal.

“There is no doubt it would have progressed further if it wasn’t for the victim fighting back and a gentleman passer-by who had the courage to intervene, the police are grateful for their actions.”