Praise for pensioner sexually abused in her own home as attacker is jailed

Robert Jennings, who was jailed for three years

Robert Jennings, who was jailed for three years - Credit: Archant

Police have praised the bravery of a 77-year-old woman, who lives in the Nacton area of Ipswich, after a man who attacked her was jailed for three years.

The woman was sitting on the toilet after returning from a shopping trip with her daughter when Robert Jennings suddenly appeared in her bathroom, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

He told the frightened woman, who lived alone, he had come to see her and grabbed hold of her wrist before attempting to touch her between the legs, said Laura Kenyon, prosecuting.

“He didn’t make contact with the skin between her legs,” said Miss Kenyon.

“She was scared. She feared she would be raped,” she added.

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She said the woman asked Jennings, who she had seen before when she was putting her bins out, not to hurt her wrist as she suffered from arthritis and he had replied: “I know.”

After the attack Jennings had calmly walked out of the bathroom and the woman, who was shaken and crying, had telephoned her daughter. It was later discovered that two pairs of the woman’s underwear were missing from a chest of drawers.

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Jennings, 63, of Shackleton Road, Ipswich, admitted sexually assaulting the woman and burglary at her home.

Jailing him for three years Judge David Goodin said the woman had been out on a shopping trip with her daughter when Jennings entered her home.

He said she was sitting on the toilet when Jennings walked into her bathroom: “It’s difficult to imagine anything more alarming,” said the judge.

“You have severely cheapened the life of your victim and her future life in her home has been severely compromised,” said Judge Goodin.

In 2004 Jennings had appeared in court after stealing underwear from a washing line which belonged to an elderly woman.

He ordered Jennings to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register indefinitely and banned him from contacting the victim in the future.

Neil Saunders, for Jennings, said his client had been drinking that evening and had been looking for somewhere to urinate when he went into the woman’s house. He said that although Jennings vaguely knew the woman, the offence had been opportunistic and he denied his client had targeted her. “He is embarrassed and remorseful and wishes to apologise to her,” said Mr Saunders.

Speaking after an earlier hearing, Detective Inspector Eamonn Bridger, senior investigating officer, said: “From the account given by the victim the man was thought to be local and police began a trawl of CCTV, house to house inquiries, patrols and checks to locate him.

“The victim, who has been extremely brave and a good witness throughout, gave police a comprehensive account of what had happened and then went on to pick Jennings out of an ID parade.

“We are pleased that the fact he has pleaded guilty means she will not have to go through a trial and would like to thank her for all her assistance. ”

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