A nurse who disappeared while taking part in a malaria drugs trial, sparking a police appeal, was found guilty yesterday of sexual assault.
Matthew Lloyd, who suffers from mental health problems, twice attacked a waitress as she walked home through Southampton city centre two months before he was reported missing last October. His failure to return to complete the trial at Oxford University's Edward Jenner Institute prompted fears he may have been infected and urgently required treatment. But Lloyd, 36, had already been arrested in connection with the assaults. He did not contract the disease.
The 20-year-old victim told Southampton Crown Court she feared she was about to be raped when Lloyd attacked her.
She described how she pressed her fingers into his windpipe to try to fight off him. Although she managed to get away she was forced to fend him off again during a second encounter. "He was smiling," she said. "He enjoyed me being in fear."
She picked Lloyd out of identification photographs, and although he denied being the attacker, CCTV footage showed him at the scene.
Lloyd was granted bail on condition the stays at a psychiatric unit and the case was adjourned for sentencing on a date to be fixed.