Jury out for second day in night attacks trial

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The Independent Online

The jury in the trial of a car salesman accused of a series of late-night attacks on women in a seaside town retired to consider its verdicts for a second day today.



Adam Gall, 27, is alleged to have roamed a small part of Hastings, East Sussex, to target mainly vulnerable young women with "sudden, shocking attacks" over a two-year period, largely between 10pm and 3am.

During the three-week trial at Lewes Crown Court, jurors were told that stalking women became a "way of life" for Gall, who faces 13 charges, including sexual assault, assault by beating, wounding with intent, and a number of other assault charges.

They heard he inflicted harm on more than 10 women and girls aged from 15 to 50-plus from August 2006 onwards, before being caught during an attack two years later after being placed under police surveillance.

The level of violence that was inflicted escalated over the two years, to the extent where a bottle was used on one occasion and a metal bar on another later on in the series.

The jury was told that the victims were left with injuries ranging from bruising, concussion and broken bones, and that most of them remain traumatised by their ordeals.

All of the offences took place within a small area of the town in and around Alexandra Park, St Helen's Road and the surrounding areas.

Although there was a sense of fear that a serial attacker was on the loose in Hastings, it was not until June 2008 that the offences were formally linked and the case passed to Sussex Police's major crime branch.

Bespectacled Gall, who lived with his parents in Pilgrims Way, Hastings, has admitted punching one woman, relating to the final charge, after she apparently abused him while he urinated in an alley following a night out with friends.

Judge Michael Lawson QC directed the jury return a not guilty verdict on a charge of assault by beating on another woman. He denies all 13 charges.

Gall told jurors that he did not drive around Hastings looking for women to attack, but was instead trying to trace drug dealers to feed his cocaine habit.

During cross-examination he admitted making thousands of "heavy breathing" telephone calls, many of which were described as "aggressive, violent and with sexual overtones" by the prosecution.