July 2007

Sex offender collapses in court

A SEX offender who assaulted a schoolgirl collapsed in court before he was sent to jail.

Paramedics were called to assess David Sanderson, who suffers with stress-related angina, after he went down with chest pains during a break in the court hearing.

He was given oxygen, but refused to go to hospital.

Sanderson, 67, of Moretons, Pitsea, was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl during his trial last month.

At Southend Crown Court, Recorder Stanley Spence sent him to prison for 18 months.

Prosecutor Samantha Leigh said: “The defendent and victim had known each other for some time.

“He pinned her down and ripped her clothing, pulled her bra and touched her breasts.

“The whole time she was trying to push him away.” His solicitor Caroline Moonan said: “Mr Sanderson does not enjoy good health.

“On the day of his conviction he collapsed in the dock and was taken to hospital with a suspected heart attack.

“It has been going on for two-and-a-half years and he is desperate to get it concluded.”

The offence happened on October 24, 2004, but Sanderson’s ill health meant the trial was postponed.

The court heard San-derson had suffered a hate campaign with his car vandalised 18 times and a brick thrown through the window of his sister’s house.

Mr Spence said: “It was a moment of madness because she was skimpily dressed and your sexual desires got the better of you and you indecently assaulted that young girl.

“It happened at night and was a sustained and violent assault in which she was injured and plainly frightened.

“She fought back causing injuries to your arm and head. She was in fear of the attack you were carrying out on her. You took advantage of her after she had been drinking. This matter makes it a serious offence.”

Sanderson was told his ill health did not constitute exceptional circumstances for a suspended sentence, but he was given three years reduced by half due to his poor health.

He will be on the sex offenders register for ten years.