West Sussex man jailed after following Redhill woman home and sexually assaulting her

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The quick actions of neighbours and police officers helped catch a sexual offender from West Sussex who followed a woman home and sexually assaulted her outside her own front door in Redhill, Surrey Police have reported.

On August 2023, at around 11pm, a woman from Redhill was walking home from the town centre when she became aware of a man, whom she did not know, following close behind her, police said.

As she reached the entranceway of her property and tried to get in, Surrey Police said he approached her, grabbed her around the neck and sexually assaulted her by touching. He then exposed himself, police added.

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Incredibly she was able to break free, but as she sought help, he continued to follow her, police added.

Deane Clayton has been sentenced to three years in jail. Picture courtesy of Surrey PoliceDeane Clayton has been sentenced to three years in jail. Picture courtesy of Surrey Police
Deane Clayton has been sentenced to three years in jail. Picture courtesy of Surrey Police

Surrey Police said the victim tried to flag down passing vehicles before spotting a neighbouring property with their lights on. Police said she banged on their front door, they let her in and called the police.

Surrey Police said response officers quickly conducted a fast-time search of the local area, based on the victim’s initial description of the man, and located Deane Clayton at Redhill bus station where he was swiftly arrested.

Police said Clayton, 37, from Northgate in Crawley, was charged the following day and remanded into custody.

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Following a trial at Guildford Crown Court, police said the jury unanimously found him guilty of sexual assault and indecent exposure.

On Friday, January 26, Surrey Police said he was sentenced to three years in jail, placed on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely and given a restraining order to protect the victim.

Detective Constable Jess Ratcliffe, from Surrey’s Sexual Offences Investigation Team, said: “This scenario is every woman’s worst nightmare. To be attacked, just as you try to get home safely, is utterly terrifying and the victim was incredibly brave in being able to give a description and help us find this man so quickly. Now he is behind bars where he belongs.”

Sexual Offences Liaison Officer (SOLO) Roberta Jeffries said: “We must commend the immense bravery of the victim throughout the investigation, and we hope this outcome brings some justice”.

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In a personal impact statement, the victim said the experience had had a profound impact on her day-to-day life. She said: “I have become paranoid. I have stopped going out. I am constantly afraid of bad things. My image of the world, the people, specifically from men, has changed in a very bad way. I wish it had never happened to me.”