A pastor has been jailed for a vicious attack on a woman as she walked home alone after a night out in Brighton.
Stephen Jay, 58, was jailed for two years at Hove Crown Court today (Tuesday 29 August) by Judge Christine Laing.
Jay was found guilty of assault causing actual bodily harm (ABH) after carrying out the unprovoked attack on a stranger on the street last summer.
At the time Sussex Police said that this was the third attack of its kind that Jay had been accused of but it was the first time he had been convicted.
The force said today: “At about 3am on Sunday 14 August last year the 26-year-old victim was walking home alone after a night out in Brighton.
“As she walked up Gerard Street near the city centre she became aware of a man ducking behind cars as if trying to hide.
“She confronted him and asked why he was following her.
“She crossed Gerard Street on to the nearside pavement and was walking towards Ditchling Rise.
“Jay then hit her in the face several times.
“A witness saw the attacker’s hand around her throat and another over her mouth as he straddled her while on the ground.
“Concerned neighbours heard the screams and came to her aid.
“Neighbours gathered up her belongings that had fallen from her bag during the unprovoked attack.
“A couple of days later the victim went to her bag and found that it contained a baseball cap that did not belong to her.
“This was sent off for analysis and found to have DNA from Stephen Jay within it.”
Detective Inspector Mick Jones said: “Stephen Jay is a former town pastor from Ipswich who was training to be a life coach to provide help to those who need it including the vulnerable.
“His work as a town pastor meant that he used to work during evenings in the city centre of Ipswich proving support for those often found vulnerable through drink and drugs.
“He was also a prominent member of his local church.
“Far from protecting the vulnerable, this investigation has shown him to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing – someone who targeted a lone woman walking home in the early hours of the morning and violently assaulted her in an unprovoked attack.
“Jay admitted that during that evening leading up to the attack and the early hours of the morning immediately afterwards he was having a sexual conversation with another woman who he was having an online affair with, discussing his liking for bondage, domination and sado-masochism.
“After the assault, he admitted masturbating in his car in a public place.
“I would urge anyone, no matter where they are from or how long ago the offence occurred, if they believe they are the victim of an assault, sexual or otherwise, to report it to police on 101.
“Your call will be handled sensitively and confidentially.”
Jay, self-employed, of Wrights Lane, Kesgrave, Ipswich, had been convicted of the attack in May at Lewes Crown Court.
But the jury was hung on whether this assault had been carried out with the intent to commit a sexual act.
After a retrial on the sexual aspect of the case at Brighton Crown Court in July a second jury was also unable to agree a verdict.
At his first trial in May, Jay had also been found not guilty of causing actual bodily harm and sexually assaulting a 21-year old woman as she walked along Hanover Terrace, Brighton, on Thursday 1 September.
LIKE WHAT WE DO? HELP US TO DO MORE OF IT BY DONATING HERE.