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A sexual predator “turned nightmares into reality” after breaking into local Lancaster home and sexually assaulting a woman in her bed while her boyfriend slept on the sofa.
*Trigger warning: sexual assault description
According to Peter Barr, prosecuting, on the 9th September 2021, the victim came home from work at around 9pm and watched TV with her boyfriend before heading upstairs. Before falling asleep, she heard footsteps approaching the bedroom. Since it was just before 11pm, she assumed it was her boyfriend coming to join her. Instead, Jack Burns, 24, a complete stranger to the victim, walked in to her bedroom and jumped on her and swiftly putting one hand over her mouth, the other around her throat. He later removed the hand around her throat and sexually assaulted her. The woman suffered a black eye, bruises, and scratches to her face and nose.
Whilst investigating the property, crime investigators recovered a footprint matching Burns’ trainers as well as his fingerprints on a garden table which had been moved to access the building, the court heard. Although Burns originally claimed he had been garden hopping, he later pleaded guilty to both burglary and sexual assault.
According to a victim impact statement, the victim said: “It isn’t easy for me to describe the horror of what happened to me. Since that night, I have been unable to sleep. I am so scared of being alone that my boyfriend had to stay with me and take time off work.”
Lancashire Police have since provided the woman with a panic alarm which she can keep on her at all times.
Since the incident, the victim has also left Lancaster and returned to her home country in Eastern Europe, the court heard.
“My confidence is gone and I experience mood swings daily. It is impossible for me to sleep in the sheets where this occurred – all reminders had to be removed. The windows now stay shut and I get no fresh air,” she told the court.
Jack Burns was sentenced yesterday at Preston Crown Court to a seven-year sentence after previously pleading guilty to sexual assault and burglary. Burns was jailed for five years and given an extended licence period for a further two-years after a judge ruled him to be dangerous.
Jack Burns has also been placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life.
DS Hana Alayli-Moore, of Lancashire Constabulary, said: “I am satisfied with Burns’ sentence and hope it sends a message that we will not tolerate this type of crime in Lancashire. I also hope it brings the victim some closure and she is able to start moving forward with her life.”
Since Burns’ sentence, comments have been made on Facebook asking, “How can you be satisfied with that sentence.” Several individuals made comments calling for the offender to hang and for Lancashire Area Police to “get that [rope] round his neck.”
If you want to report a sexual offence, you can do so by calling 101, or 999 in an emergency.
Alternatively, independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Support for victims of sexual assault and their relations is available from your college.