Teenager sexually assaulted 79-year-old in her Staffordshire home

Reece Wigglesworth

A 16-year-old boy sexually assaulted an elderly woman in her own home after trying door handles at random.Reece Wigglesworth attacked his 79-year-old victim in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, after she initially thought her son was at the door.

Wigglesworth, who previously received a caution as an 11-year-old for sexually assaulting another child, wore a hoodie over his face as he tried to enter the house.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard how the attacker barged into the victim's home and asked if she had any money.

He then sexually assaulted her and hit her across the head, before running off. Wigglesworth was arrested three days later after a police appeal.

The incident happened almost eight months after he and an accomplice robbed a disabled woman of her car at knifepoint outside her home in Basford, Staffordshire.

That victim was so distressed she moved house, the court heard.

Wigglesworth has now been sentenced to eight-and-a-half years detention for his crimes.

The attacker would normally be given anonymity, as he is under the age of 18, but reporting restrictions were lifted after Judge Paul Glenn said transparency was appropriate and in the interests of justice.

In a victim statement, the 79-year-old said she has suffered flashbacks and no longer feels safe in her own home.

She has had extra security fitted and said she would never forget what happened.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court Credit: ITV News Central

The defendant was identified by forensic evidence with his DNA found on the victim's clothes and the door handle at a neighbouring property.Wigglesworth, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to robbery, possession of a knife in public, burglary and sexual assault.

Paul Cliff, mitigating, said his client wanted to offer his apologies to both victims.

Mr Cliff said: "Any right minded person would be disgusted by his behaviour."

He added Wigglesworth was not driven by deviant sexual fantasies and asked for the judge to give credit for the guilty pleas and to take into account the teenager's age and totality.

Judge Paul Glenn described the sexual assault as 'an appalling case'.

He said: "You burgled the home of a 79-year-old. You had been released under investigation in relation to the robbery.

'You are a danger'

"I am not sure that you realised it was an old person's home or I would treat that as an aggravating feature.

"She thought it was her son and unlocked the door. You pushed your way in. Your face was concealed by the hooded top you were wearing.

"She was terrified and thought she was going to be raped.

"You meet the criteria for a dangerous offender. The sexual assault and the robbery are so serious only significant custodial sentences are appropriate.

"You are a danger when at large in the community. Your offending is escalating in terms of gravity and frequency. You carry knives. You abuse alcohol and drugs.

"The circumstances of the present offences alone indicate you are out of control."

Wigglesworth was placed on the sex offenders register indefinitely and was barred from a range of activities involving children and vulnerable adults.