A sick pervert has been jailed after the teenage girl he sexually assaulted took pictures of him during the horrifying attack.
James White, 39, ran up behind the girl, 16, in Darwen, Blackburn, at around midnight on June 25 this year. He then put his hands over her face, dragged her to the ground and stroked her thigh.
"I don't want to hurt you," he told her.
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The brave teen used her phone to smack him several times before managing to take two photos of his face. Police said the photos provided "crucial evidence".
White tried to knock the device out of her hand but was disturbed by the phone noise and fled.
He was arrested the same day after police identified his white Mercedes A180 being driven away from the scene on CCTV. He was charged with sexual assault and assault causing actual bodily harm. He later pleaded guilty.
White was handed a two-and-half-year prison sentence at Preston Crown Court today (Thursday, August 10). He was also put on the Sex Offenders Register for 15 years.
After the sentencing, Lancashire Police's DS Sarah Tucker praised the victim's "bravery and quick thinking".
She said: "This was a terrifying attack committed against a teenage girl walking home at night – something she was perfectly entitled to do without fear of White engaging in this appalling behaviour.
"I want to praise the bravery and quick thinking of the victim in this case, who managed to scare off and capture crucial evidence against White.
"I know this attack has had a profound impact on her and I hope today's sentencing will bring her some sense of closure."
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Derek Artis, District Crown Prosecutor for the CPS North West Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Unit, said: "James White is clearly a danger to women. He targeted a teenage girl as she walked along the street and launched a terrifying sexual attack upon her.
"She showed great courage by using her phone to contact her mother whilst at the same time fighting him off, causing him to stop the attack and run away.
"Every woman and girl should be free and feel safe to go about their daily lives, including walking alone, without fear of harassment or sexual offences.
"The CPS is committed to bringing offenders who commit crimes against women to justice."
If you or somebody you know has been affected by this story, contact Victim Support for free, confidential advice on 08 08 16 89 111 or visit their website, www.victimsupport.org.uk.
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