January 2019

Woman subjected to terrifying sex assault walking alone on heritage trail

A “dangerous” offender was jailed for a sex attack on a woman walking alone on an industrial heritage trail

Matthew Love, 27, stalked the woman who was taking photographs on the Trevethick Trail near Merthyr Tydfil.

A court heard Love found the woman attractive but was too shy to talk to her.

He pounced from behind while she was listening to music through earphones –  lifting up her skirt and trying to pull down her underwear.

In a victim impact statement the woman said: “It robbed me of the opportunity to walk carefree around my home town ever again.

“It has left me traumatised. Explaining what happened is like trying to speak in a new language – I can’t find the words.”

Love ran from the scene of the attack but was later identified from CCTV in Merthyr Tydfil town centre.

He had previous convictions for assaulting his own father, animal cruelty by killing his pet Staffordshire bull terrier and assaulting his ex girlfriend by biting her breast in a shop doorway.

Love, of Pontlottyn, admitted sexual assault and was jailed for two years and eight months.

Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke told him: “It was a prolonged and sustained incident and there was some planning.

“It must have been a truly terrifying experience for the woman who froze in terror and was too upset to call police.

“Fortunately members of the public were nearby to assist her and call 999.

“You are considered a danger and I take account of your previous criminal record in sentencing you.”

The judge is due to make Love the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order at Merthyr Crown Court later this week.