A high rise resident who molested a woman he spotted on the top floor of a Swindon multi-storey has been jailed for seven-and-a-half years.

Dean Clark, 34, was found guilty last month of sexual assault by penetration. He attacked his victim, who was on the top floor of the Brunel West multi-storey and in the midst of a mental health crisis, after telling her she was the prettiest girl he had seen in the car park.

Jailing the David Murray John Tower resident for seven years and six months, Judge Peter Crabtree said new legislation meant he would spent two-thirds of his sentence behind bars before he was eligible for parole.

“Given the length of that it confirms my view that a restraining order is not required,” he said.

Last month, jurors took six hours to find him guilty of sexual assault by penetration. He was acquitted of six other charges.

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Dean Clark Picture: WILTSHIRE POLICE

During the trial, the court heard Clark’s victim – a woman in her 20s – made her way up to the roof of the Brunel West car park shortly after 7.15pm on July 3, 2018.

She suffered from poor mental health and, in the midst of a crisis, liked to go to the top of the car park.

Prosecutors suggested Clark may have been using his binoculars and had spotted her on the roof. That was why, the Crown Prosecution Service’s barrister Nicholas Tucker said, a little after 8pm he made his way from his flat to Canal Walk.

Mr Tucker said: “It is the prosecution’s case that on the evening of July 3, 2018, Mr Clark happened to look out and see the complainant standing there on the roof of the car park. He decided to go down and approach her. She was alone and patently vulnerable.”

CCTV showed Clark striding down the corridor and out the front door at 8.11pm. He was caught on camera walking past the old Paperchase shop and House of Fraser. The timecode on CCTV showed him walking through the underpass beneath the car park at 8.24pm and turning into the stairwell on the Farnsby Street side of the multi-storey.

Clark had come up to her, the victim said. He asked if she had seen a man wearing grey who had been trying cars, before telling her she was the prettiest girl he had seen in the car park.

The woman – unsettled – was said to have walked back to the stairs but was followed. He put his hand down her leggings, it was claimed.

Clark was accused of asking if she had ever had sex with a stranger before pulling down her leggings and molesting her.

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Dean Clark outside Swindon Crown Court this morning Picture: ADVER PHOTOGRAPHER

She managed to walk away. Clark had called after her and, when she look around, he had exposed himself, it was claimed

He adjusted his clothing and walked towards her, put his hand down her top and also touched her, jurors heard.

The woman pulled up her leggings and walked away. CCTV showed Clark begin to follow before he turned back to Canal Walk. He went to Tesco and bought a pack of chicken slices for £1.25 and a £1 multi-pack of steak crisps then walked back to the flat he shared with his wife.

The victim made it to Milton Road, where she called 999.

By their verdicts, jurors found that only one assault had taken place.

Clark had denied the allegations, claiming he’d met an old college friend he named only as Martin and had gone to the roof with him before the woman came over to him and told him she “wanted some fun” then forced his hand down her leggings.

Mr Tucker said in his closing speech to the jury: "The defendant would have you believe that on the night in question a woman he had never met before approached him, a woman who had obviously been crying but a woman who he says was determined to have sex with him, a complete stranger, a woman who would not take no for an answer.”

He added “There is a place for stories such as this, members of the jury. It is in the fevered fantasies of over-sexed adolescent boys.”

The prosecutor labelled Clark's claims he had bumped into Martin then been accosted by his victim as “absolute nonsense”.

Cross-examining Clark, Mr Tucker asked: “You identified her as an evidently vulnerable girl and that’s why you left your flat to go and see what advantage you could take from her, didn’t you?” Clark denied it.

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Clark walked from his flat to the Brunel West car park staircase via this underpass, where it was said he met up with pal 'Martin'

Clark said he had spent the day watching YouTube videos before going to Morrisons and Tesco Express to buy crisps and chicken for his wife. He planned to go to both shops in order to compare prices on the low-cost items as he was on benefits and needed to watch his expenditure.

In his closing speech to jurors, Clark's lawyer Tony Bignall said the 12 men and women could not be sure on the prosecution's case that his client had assaulted the woman. He said: “This is not an Agatha Christie mystery. You don’t have to try and determine what really happened. What you have to determine is whether or not on the evidence you’ve heard you can be sure Mr Clark committed these offences. Nothing less than that will do.”

Police react to sentence

Reacting to the sentence, Det Const Rob Barratt said: “Clark was opportunistic and took advantage of a woman in a very vulnerable position.

“The victim did the right thing in alerting the police immediately to what had happened just minutes before and as a result, we were able to secure this conviction.

“I hope that today’s sentencing can give her some closure.

"I would encourage anyone who has been a victim of a sexual assault to come forward and report it to the police.  You will be listened to and supported by experienced officers and staff." 

To report sexual abuse please phone police on 101 or, if you wish to remain anonymous, via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Victims can also seek support and counselling from the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) based at the New Swindon Sanctuary - they can be contacted on the 24-hour helpline 0808 168 0024.