A self-confessed “hapless” mugger who admits targeting women walking home late at night denies they were sexually-motivated attempted abductions.
Peter Smith, 33, told police he was short of money when he decided to rob two women in separate attacks, three months apart, in Market Harborough and Desborough. He is accused of attempting to kidnap them for sexually-motivated reasons.
Smith, of Rushton Road, Rothwell, is charged with possessing a Stanley knife, kidnap and sexual assault of a 23-year-old woman in Market Harborough on November 17 last year and attempted kidnap of a 17-year-old woman in Desborough on February 18.
Mary Loram, opening the prosecution at Northampton Crown Court today, told the jury: “You are not going to be asked to decide if it was this defendant or someone else who carried out these offences against these two young women.
“The defendant says ‘Yes, that’s me on both occasions in November and February’.
“But he says he is not a sinister stranger trying to force young women into his car. He says ‘I am a robber’.”
“You are in an unusual position of not being asked to decide whether crimes were committed but of having to decide which crime was committed.
“Is the defendant a hapless robber or is this an attempt by him to limit the damage, to hide a much more worrying and sinister motive behind these assaults against these two young women.”
Miss Loram said a 23-year-old woman, who cannot be named, was walking home in Scotland Road, Market Harborough at 7pm on November 17 when Smith pulled up in a black Renault Clio. She said: “When he got out of the car, she became nervous and went down an alleyway towards a park area.
“The defendant followed her, approached her and pulled out a knife. She realised it was a Stanley knife.
“He said this to her ‘Do what I tell you or otherwise I am going to stab you’. He told her to lie on the ground which she did. He laid on top of her and seemed to be thrusting himself while on top of her. He tried to pull down her tights and skirt and she could tell he was aroused.
“But he was, in fact, quite hopeless and gave up. He got up and told her to get up and said he was going to stab her.
“You might think, pretty impressively, she grabbed his arm and realised she could overpower him and started to shout for help so he ran away.
“It is very sad that it took another young woman to be attacked by this defendant for him to be caught.”
The jury heard a 17-year-old woman walked past Smith sitting in his car in Rothwell Road, Desborough at 8pm on February 18. He approached her carrying a knife and told her to get into his car. However, she managed to flag down a passing car and he fled.
However, she noted down part of his registration and he was arrested two hours later.
Miss Loram said: “Leicestershire Police happened to fortunately hear about what had happened in Northamptonshire and it all seemed rather familiar. They decided to investigate the defendant and on March 7, the 23-year-old picked him out from an ID parade.
“The defendant is not saying these two women, who have never met and live in different counties, were lying but they are mistaken and misinterpreted his actions, Would it be coincidence that both women he attacked are both young women?
“And he did not actually steal anything. The 23-year-old had a brand new Samsung Galaxy 2. He did not steal that.
“The 17-year-old had a mobile phone and an iPod and he did not take either. That flies in the face of him being a robber.
“And he has done it before, not robbery but kidnap of a young woman, in fact a girl.”
Smith denies the charges. The trial continues.