Man jailed for sexually assaulting 19 women and teenage girl in space of a week

Joshua Etchells Credit: Greater Manchester Police

A man who sexually assaulted 19 women and a teenage girl in the space of a week has been jailed.

Between 1st March 2021 and 7th March 2021, Joshua Etchells would target women who were running or walking alone on canal tow paths along the Bridgewater Canal, the River Mersey and along the Trans Pennine Trail, grabbing or slapping their bottom before fleeing on his bike.

Police say Etchells, of Lowton Road, Sale, assaulted nine women in a single day.

On two occasions, he approached the women head on, cycled past them before turning around and cycling back towards them from behind. As he passed, he sexually assaulted them.

Joshua Etchells captured on his bike.

One of the survivors, who was assaulted on the Trans Pennine Trail, decided to drive around the local area to locate him with a family member.

They spotted Etchells and took a photo of him, which they then passed over to police.

Greater Manchester Police launched a full investigation on Saturday 13 March involving plain clothed officers in an unmarked vehicle in Sale. They spotted Etchells on his bike and arrested him.

He appeared at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court on Friday 6th August, where he was jailed for 14 months after pleading guilty to 20 counts of sexual assault by touching.

Following his release he will also be required to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years.

Credit: PA

Detective Inspector Helen Bagnall of GMP's Trafford district said: "Firstly I want to extend my thanks and gratitude to all the women who came forward to report the assault.

"Reporting such incidents is never easy but thanks to their support during the investigation and initial detailed descriptions of Etchells we have been able to secure a conviction today.

"Etchells' twisted behaviour was nothing short of deplorable and he felt he was untouchable and would be able to flee each assault with little consequence.

"I'm glad we've now been able to place him behind bars where he will have plenty of time to reflect on his actions.

"I hope today also serves as a reminder that GMP will do all in its power to ensure those responsible for such disgusting behaviour are identified and face the appropriate justice.

"No woman should be made to feel unsafe when she walks the street and I'm glad that today we have been able to remove another dangerous individual from our community."

Where to find help if you're a survivor of sexual assault in the North West

Greater Manchester Victims' Services

They provide emotional and practical support to anyone affected by crime and are a confidential service. The service can be contacted by visiting the website on or calling 0161 200 1950.

Back to top

RASASC: Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Centre (Cheshire & Merseyside)

RASASC supports people who have been affected by rape or sexual abuse. It has offices in Chester, Crewe, Ellesmere Port, Knowsley, Halton, Northwich, Macclesfield, St.Helens and Warrington, and also offers outreach support in locations across Cheshire and Merseyside.

You can call them on: 0330 363 0063

Back to top

Trust House Lancashire

Trust House offers a safe space where survivors of all forms of rape and sexual abuse can access a range of services to help improve their health and well being, regain their confidence and self-esteem and be empowered to reclaim their lives.

You can call them on 01772 825 288 or email

Back to top

Young Person's Advisory Service (YPAS)

They support children, young people and families from three locations in Central, South and North Liverpool - covering Liverpool, Sefton, Knowsley, Wirral, and St Helens (Merseyside).

You can contact them on 0151 707 1025, or email

Back to top

The Birchall Trust

It offers one to one weekly counselling sessions to male and females of all ages who have experienced rape and/or sexual abuse in South Cumbria and North Lancashire.

You can phone them on 01229 820828 or email on

Back to top

Saint Mary's Sexual Assault Referral Centre, Manchester

Provides a comprehensive and co-ordinated response to men, women and children who live or have been sexually assaulted within Greater Manchester. They offer forensic medical examinations, practical and emotional support as well as a counselling service for all ages. Services are available on a 24-hour basis and can be accessed by telephoning 0161 276 6515.

Back to top

Greater Manchester Rape Crisis

This is a confidential information, support and counselling service run by women for women over 18 who have been raped or sexually abused at any time in their lives. Call on 0161 273 4500 or email


Back to top

Survivors Manchester

They provides specialist trauma informed support to boys and men in Greater Manchester who have experienced sexual abuse, rape or sexual exploitation. Call 0161 236 2182.

Back to top