Sex attacker jailed for string of assaults at the seaside

A man has been jailed after a spate of sex attacks on lone women walking in the streets.

Mark Maxwell, 27, targeted women on seaside walks and coastal jogs at Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Judge Stephen Hopkins QC said: "You target lone females as your habit and targeted them in the day and night.

"At the least the ladies and girls of Penarth will be safe from your predatory behaviour."

Prosecutor Thomas Roberts told how his latest victim was out walking when she was attacked in the street.

His victim told how she now avoided walking outside at night - and she no longer felt safe in Penarth.

She said: "I have the right to walk the street without fear. Women should be respected in society".

Maxwell was identified by officers from CCTV - but refused to talk when he was arrested. But he struck again while on bail in April.

Mr Roberts said the next victim was running in Penarth Marina when she was assaulted.

He said: "As their paths crossed he smiled and grabbed her bottom. She shouted at him before running home and reporting the matter to police."

Maxwell was again identified by CCTV and admitted the offences - as well as confessing to similar assaults over nine years.

Defence barrister Sue Ferrier said: ""He says when he does it he feels sorry afterwards for what he has done and he appreciates it's wrong."

The court heard that Maxwell had offences for sexual assault and had been made subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

Maxwell, of Penarth, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault. He was jailed for four years at Cardiff Crown Court.

Judge Hopkins said: "You say you had 'misread signals' and felt the victims was interested in you sexually and would not mind you touching them."

Maxwell was made subject to the sexual offenders' register indefinitely.