Sex attacker's sentence increased

A drunken man who carried out a violent sexual assault on a woman walking home alone at night had his jail sentence increased by the Court of Appeal today.

Three judges in London agreed with Attorney General Dominic Grieve that an 18-month prison term handed out to 34-year-old Simon Langridge in April was not long enough.

Lord Justice Thomas, sitting with Mr Justice Treacy and Mr Justice Saunders, said the original sentence was "undoubtedly unduly lenient" and increased it to two years and four months.

Langridge, of Haywards Heath, West Sussex, had pleaded guilty to an offence of sexual assault committed last December on a 49-year-old mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

She was walking home in Haywards Heath after a Christmas party when she was followed and attacked by 6ft 2in Langridge, who had drunk nine to 10 pints of strong lager.

The court heard today that the woman, who described Langridge as "frenzied", thought she was going to be raped, but that Langridge said he did not have any intention of raping her.

Residents of the street where the incident took place heard her screams and called police who arrested Langridge nearby.

It was submitted on his behalf today that he felt "genuine and profound remorse" for his "horrendous" attack on the woman and that he had pleaded guilty to sexual assault at the first opportunity. Friends and family said the offence was "completely out of character".

Lord Justice Thomas said the victim had described in a statement the "devastating" effect of the attack, which had changed her whole life.

The judge said it had been a targeted attack on a vulnerable victim in the middle of the night by a "complete stranger".

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