October 2019

Sex attacker avoids jail after judge says it would be too harsh

A sex attacker who was mentally unwell when he dragged a woman through a playground during a ‘terrifying’ ordeal has avoided a prison sentence.

Nicholas Philip, 34, of Bermondsey attacked a stranger in a children’s adventure playground, pulling her to the floor and groping her buttocks.

The woman, who has not been identified, thought he was going to kill her and was only able to escape after she bit him on the face.

The Solicitor General brought an appeal against sentence after Philip was handed a three year community order and a curfew.

But the panel of judges said they were ‘not persuaded’ that the community sentence should increase because Philip was having a psychotic episode at the time.

He believed that most people were either clones or aliens and ‘spent most of his time on the internet watching videos concerning the end of the world,’ the court heard.

Lord Justice Simon told the court that the woman had been visiting a nearby arts and crafts centre at around 8am, before the sun came up on Saturday 7 December 2017.

He said that Philip had appeared in front of the victim, who was alone, before he approached her as she desperately tried to close a gate between them.

‘He then grabbed her around the upper body. She tried to scream but found it difficult to breathe.

‘It was very dark. She tried to pull away but the defendant dragged her back by the jacket. She was kicking, pulling his hands and screaming.’

Mr Justice Simon told the court that Philip pulled the screaming woman to the floor ‘dragging the victim to an isolated place’ and then pulling down her trousers and grabbing her backside.

‘The offender climbed on top of her, she couldn’t breath and thought he was going to kill her.

‘The offender remained on top of her,’ explained Justice Simon.