Australia

Man who attacked nurse in alley walks free

A man will not spend any more time in jail after he grabbed a nurse from behind as she was walking to work — putting her in a headlock, pulling her into an alleyway, pinning her onto the ground, and covering her mouth while she screamed.Jackson Williams was sentenced in the County Court of Victoria…

A man will not spend any more time in jail after he grabbed a nurse from behind as she was walking to work — putting her in a headlock, pulling her into an alleyway, pinning her onto the ground, and covering her mouth while she screamed.

Jackson Williams was sentenced in the County Court of Victoria on Wednesday to a 42-day jail sentence — which he has already served after being arrested — followed by a community corrections order of two years and six months and 200 hours of unpaid work.

Judge Mandy Fox earlier convicted the 21-year-old of assault but found him not guilty of attempt to commit a sexual offence over his actions about 6.30am on October 28, 2018.

Williams’ assault was interrupted by an off-duty New Zealand police officer who heard the 39-year-old victim’s screams and ran to help, shouting “Oi!” as he ran into Brights Place in the Melbourne city centre.

Judge Fox said the victim had left Victoria and was unable to work due to the continuing psychological impact of the assault.

She said she was an “innocent woman” who had “every right” to walk in a public street.

“She screamed and did her best to resist you, but you were much bigger and stronger than she was,” she said.

“You had your hand over her mouth in an attempt to silence her.

“What you did shattered her sense of confidence, security and safety.”

But she said Williams had suffered “extra-curial punishment” after footage showing the attack in full was released by the court to a shocked community.

His grandparents’ house had been attacked with baseball bats and the Aboriginal man had received racial abuse, death threats, and social media criticism.

He has also been kicked out of his district footy club Westmeadows’ Tigers, Judge Fox said.

A psychologist had told the court Williams would be vulnerable in prison because of his youth, low IQ, and “shyness”.

Judge Fox said a psychologist found Williams — who has maintained he can’t remember the attack — was “genuinely shocked and scared by (his) actions, with a deep and ongoing shame”.

But she said it was “disturbing” that there remained no explanation for Williams’ behaviour on the night.

Emm Jones, who started a Change.org petition calling for an appeal, said on Wednesday it was a “sad and scary day for women”.

“I am a mum of three beautiful girls, and I want us to go about our business, day or night, in a world where we are safe,” she said.

“The laws need to change.

“(The victim) had a right to make it to work safely.

“As women, we deserve better. I am sick of seeing these stories.”

The maximum penalty for assault is five years in prison.

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