A man who disguised himself as a woman before stalking and sexually assaulting a stranger in the street has been jailed.
Mark Brown, 31 (04.08.89), of Newington Green, N1, was sentenced to five-and-a-half years’ imprisonment and an extended three years on licence at Wood Green Crown Court on Thursday, 17 December.
Brown was found guilty of sexual assault following a trial at the same court on Friday, 3 July.
The court heard that shortly before 03:55hrs on 20 September 2019, the female victim jogged past Brown’s home address. Brown spotted the victim go by and, wearing a dress and leather jacket, he dashed out of his flat in a mad rush to catch her – putting on a long silver wig as he ran.
He caught up with the victim after following her for about 500m.
The victim, aged in her late teens, was unaware of anyone following her until Brown placed his hand on her shoulder. Before she had a chance to turn around to see who it was, she was sexually assaulted.
The victim tried to push him away and shouted at her attacker, but she was pushed to the floor. She continued kicking and screaming but she had her eyes closed. When she opened her eyes, the suspect had fled and she only saw them running off in the distance, noticing they had long silver hair.
The victim immediately called the police and was supported by specialist officers.
Detectives began a fast-paced investigation to locate the suspect and carried out a number of enquiries – including working in partnership with Islington Council to extensively review CCTV.
Officers found chilling CCTV footage showing Brown sprint from his home address after the victim, before undeniably following her – staying a few feet behind her until the attack. The footage also showed Brown without the wig on.
Brown was arrested and charged on 5 October 2019. During his police interview, he was shown the CCTV footage and a still of him without the wig on – but he denied it was him and said he believed it was a woman. When asked about the wig, Brown initially responded with ‘no comment,’ before telling officers that he had bought it for a fancy dress party but he ‘threw it out ages ago.’
The court heard that Brown has previously been convicted of seven counts of sexual touching and is on the Sex Offender’s Register. Brown breached his licence conditions of not being allowed out between 22:00hrs and 08:00hrs.
Detective Constable Giash Uddin, the investigating officer from Central East’s Safeguarding team, said: “Brown is a dangerous, sexual predator and I am pleased that the jury agreed with the overwhelming evidence we gathered against him.
“Brown was lying in wait, in disguise, ready to pounce on his unsuspecting victim. He has refused to admit his guilt throughout and forced his victim to re-live her traumatic ordeal by going to trial.
“I’d like to praise the victim for her courage and cooperation throughout our investigation. I hope that Brown being brought to justice and put behind bars will give her a small measure of comfort and closure.
“I’d also like to thank Islington Council for their help with the extensive CCTV enquiries we carried out which identified Brown as the suspect and ultimately saw him get convicted for this heinous crime.”