March 2021

Man sexually assaulted and abducted woman at Newport Bus Station

A pervert sexually assaulted a lone woman at Newport Bus Station then abducted her by dragging her off towards Church Litten Park.

Despite being put into a headlock by Ian Willett, 22, the victim managed to escape his clutches and run away.

The entire incident was captured on CCTV and was shown at the Isle of Wight Crown Court yesterday (Friday).

Willett was jailed for 40 months by Judge David Melville, who described the predator as “utterly disgraceful” and a risk to women.

Willett, of Nelson Road, Newport, admitted sexual assault, assault by beating, and kidnapping.

Daniel Sawyer, prosecuting, said the attack happened at night, on August 23, 2020.

The woman had been out drinking in Newport with friends and walked with a friend to the bus station. Her friend got the bus, and the woman waited for hers.

She was drunk and couldn’t recall what happened to her.

Two passers-by found her crying, saying she had nearly been raped.

They called the police, who later obtained CCTV which was reviewed and enhanced.

It clearly showed Willett approach the woman, who was sitting alone. He stood right over her and forcibly pushed her head into his crotch.

She pushed him off but he grabbed her bag from her, then grabbed her and pulled her off the seat and towards the park.

She struggled and he put her in a headlock, dragging her further away from the bus station.

Outside Lord Louis Library, she managed to free herself and the attacker ran off towards the park, with the woman fleeing in the opposite direction, back across the bus lanes.

Police identified Willett from the CCTV and he was interviewed five times, giving various accounts, in the end admitting the offences.

In the victim’s personal statement, she said at first she was nonchalant about it, because she couldn’t recall the incident, even worrying that she could be getting an innocent person in trouble.

However, since finding out more about the attack, she started feeling uneasy and unsafe.

She said when she drinks alcohol she becomes “defensive, aggressive and upset” and starts thinking someone is going to attack her.

She said not knowing what her attacker looked like had made her anxious in public, and she had changed her hair colour and come off social media to try to “become anonymous”.

She doesn’t drive, so on using the bus station she is acutely aware she has to queue in the very place she was attacked.

Willett had no previous convictions of a sexual nature but had 35 convictions for 71 offences, including assaults, public disorder and dishonesty.

Aggravating factors of this offence were that it involved abduction and violence, was a night-time offence in a public place and targeted a vulnerable victim in a lone drunk female.

Judge Melville said he was very concerned by the contents of the probation report, which said Willett posed a risk to women.

Once he is released from prison, he will be subject to a ten-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order, which specifically prohibits him from approaching any lone female if doing so would be likely to cause fear.