Depraved Sheffield teen jailed for raping 'vulnerable' woman

A depraved Sheffield teenager who sexually assaulted a 'vulnerable' woman, before dragging her off into a wooded area and raping her twice has been locked up.

Thursday, 22nd August 2019, 5:58 pm

After noticing a woman he believed looked 'vulnerable', Matthew Jowitt, 18, began to follow her as she walked through Woodseats at just after 9.15am on May 14 this year.

Sheffield Crown Court heard how when the woman reached Smithy Wood Road - which is located less than 50 metres from Jowitt's home in Cartmell Road - he forced his hands down her trousers and sexually assaulted her.

"You followed her, touched her and sexually assaulted her, laughing at her when she asked you to stop," Judge Rachael Harrison told Jowitt.

Matthew Jowitt, 18, of Cartmell Road, Woodseats has been jailed for eight years, with an extended license period of four years, for two counts of rape and one count of assault by penetration. Jowitt was jailed during a hearing held at Sheffield Crown Court on August 22.

Jowitt continued to follow the woman, who is autistic and suffers from learning difficulties, as she attempted to walk away.

Richard Thyne, prosecuting, said: "When she reached Ulverston Road, he pushed her down a bank and dragged her into some woods."

Jowitt subsequently raped the woman twice, before fleeing the scene.

CCTV obtained from the area showed Jowitt following, and sexually assaulting, the woman; but there was no CCTV of the area he raped her in.

Jowitt's DNA was also found on the woman's knickers, the court heard.

He was arrested at Morrisons, his workplace, two days later and responded to the arrest by saying: "I don't f****** need this, I'm on a final warning."

In a gut-wrenching statement, Jowitt's victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said the attack had affected 'every aspect' of her life.

"[After this happened] I spent many days in bed. I didn't want to get up or do anything. And now, months later, I'm tearful most days, and my mum has to force me to get up, have a shower, and accompany me out of the house," said the woman, adding that she is now afraid to be outside on her own, even in her own garden.

Jowitt pleaded guilty to two counts of rape and one count of assault by penetration at an earlier hearing.

During an interview for his pre-sentence report, Jowitt said he had also thought about committing sexual offences a week before this incident.

Mr Thyne said Jowitt was hauled before Sheffield Crown Court just five months before carrying out this shocking set of crimes for an incident in which he attacked a lone woman, while exposing himself, and jumped on top of her and attempted to pull her leggings down.

She fought back, at which point Jowitt ran off, but he was stopped by members of the public who witnessed the incident, which was committed on October 22 last year.

Jowitt pleaded guilty to an offence of assault with intent to commit a sexual offence in connection with this incident.

He was 17-years-old at the time of conviction, and was sentenced to a 12-month referral order.

James Gould, defending, said: "He has personal difficulties...that he has had from a very young age...difficulties that include ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder)."

Mr Gould said: "The defendant has expressed in the pre-sentence report, set against his personal and pyschological problems, what I would submit is genuine remorse."

Judge Harrison jailed Jowitt for eight years, and also imposed an extended license period of an additional four years due to the 'significant risk of danger' he poses to members of the public.

She told Jowitt: "You admit that you noticed your victim and thought she was vulnerable. Thinking that, you specifically targetted her."

"You have shown inappropriate sexual behaviour towards others since the age of five. Despite the work that was done with you with the referral order, you threw away that opportunity to address your problems," added Judge Harrison.

The extended license period Jowitt has been sentenced to means he must serve two-thirds of his sentence, instead of the normal one-half, before he can be considered for release by the parole board.

- Sheffield Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre is a specialist service offering free and confidential support to women and men who have experienced rape or sexual abuse at any times in their lives. You can call them confidentially on 0808 802 0013 or visit their website here.