A decorator tied up and molested a terrified customer after going to her house to discuss doing work.
Graham Stevens, never in trouble before, suddenly pounced on the mum as they talked about the work, tying her up with masking tape and subjecting her to a serious sexual assault.
A court heard the usually respectable 53-year-old’s mind had been distorted by legal highs, pornography and rape fantasies.
He grabbed the woman from behind, tied her wrists behind her back, forced her upstairs, taped her mouth and subjected the crying woman to a serious sexual assault in an hour-long ordeal.
The terrified victim, who said he seemed to have been enjoying the attack, said he then suddenly stopped, saying “I can’t do this, I can’t rape you”, before apologising and freeing her.
Stevens was then followed by police as he drove to Holy Island to kill himself but was stopped on the causeway and arrested.
As the attacker, a regular cannabis smoker who spent the night before looking at porn taking legal highs, was jailed for false imprisonment and sexual assault, a judge said he had tried to carry out his sick fantasies.
Judge Brian Forster QC said: “The explanation for what took place appears to be you had been taking drugs and had an interest in pornography.
“That interest, by reason of your consumption of substances, has led you to carry the fantasy into the reality of your life.”
The court heard Stevens knocked on the victim’s door in North Tyneside one morning in April.
Prosecutor Neil Pallister said: “They were chatting generally and, without warning and completely unexpectedly, he grabbed her from behind.
“He told her to shut up and do as she was told, pushing her to the floor and restraining her with his elbow or knee on her back.
“He had masking tape with him and put her arms behind her back and taped her wrists then lifted her to her feet and forced her to go upstairs, where he covered her mouth with masking tape, despite her struggling and bleeding.”
Stevens then began to molest the woman, who feared she was going to be raped.
Mr Pallister said: “Then all of a sudden he stopped it and took out a spliff and started to smoke it.
“He said ‘I can’t do this, I can’t rape you’.
“He apologised and she asked him to take off the tape, which he did then left the house.”
Stevens then returned to his home, told his wife she deserved better and said he was going.
After the victim rang police, they spotted him heading north on the A1 and followed him up to the causeway at Holy Island, where he stopped.
He was arrested and admitted the attack, saying he had been smoking legal highs and watching pornography the previous night while his wife was working a night shift.
The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said the attack has had a significant detrimental affect on her life.
She said in a statement to the court: “What he did has impacted on many aspects of my life and has changed the way I live my life.
“He physically hurt me but far greater than the physical impact was the psychological impact.
“It took place in my home, a place I was happy and secure in.
“I don’t sleep properly, have hot sweats and nightmares and flashbacks about what happened and I find it difficult to be in the area on the landing where this took place. I’ve even redecorated the area to try to change the way I feel about this area of the house.”
Stevens, of West View, Earsdon, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and sexual assault and was jailed for five years and four months and ordered to sign the sex offender register for life. He was also banned from going within 100 yards of the victim’s home or contacting her as part of a sexual offences prevention order.
Nick Peacock, defending, said Stevens was usually a hard-working family man who was respected in his community and had a reference from his local vicar.
Mr Peacock said: “He is devastated and horrified by what he has done and he accepts the victim must have thought the worst when this began. He wishes through me to apologise to her.”