Anas Baig, 19, of The Hides, Harlow, Essex, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted rape, one count of assault by beating, and one count of assault by beating with intent to commit a sexual offence.
On Friday, July 27, at around 1.35am, Baig followed an 18-year-old woman as she was walking home from a night out in the town with friends, before approaching her from behind and sexually assaulting her.
At that point, the victim’s mobile phone rang, disrupting Baig, and she was able to escape.
Around half an hour later, another woman in her early 20s was walking along Alma Street when Baig approached her, offered her money for sex and tried to sexually assault her.
Luckily a group of men passing by were able to intercept and Baig ran off.
Officers investigating the two incidents saw Baig captured on CCTV, following his victims in the area before each incident.
In the case of his second victim, he was seen to be following her for a period of up to 20 minutes.
DI Lorraine Coombes said: “These were disturbing attacks, where the offender targeted lone women walking at night, following them before assaulting them.
“Officers led a successful manhunt to locate Baig, managing this case from the outset, to a swift conclusion, with dedication and a keenness to see this offender apprehended before he could continue.
“I strongly believe, had he not been caught, Baig would have continued in his attempts to rape a woman.”
DC Nicky Robinson added: “We are committed to bringing dangerous, sexually motivated offenders to justice, and to keeping Bedfordshire safe from such predators.
“This is a positive result for the team who worked tirelessly throughout the days following the attacks in order to piece together Baig’s movements, to safeguard and support his two victims, and to work with them to gather the evidence.
“Although this sentence can never make up for the trauma inflicted on these two women, we hope that they will now be able to start the process of putting the events of that night behind them.”
In summing up, His Honour Judge Andrew Bright, referring to Baig as a “dangerous offender”, said: “What they experienced surely must be every woman’s worst nightmare.
“I’m in no doubt you were attempting to force a woman to have sex, regardless of whether she consented or not.
“I am very worried that you are still trying to justify your actions. You display worrying beliefs concerning females and consent issues. Until those issues are tackled, you pose a serious risk of sexual assault to females.”
He was sentenced at Luton Crown Court this morning to six years for attempted rape of his first victim, with a further four months for the assault by beating. He received 20 months for assault by beating of his second victim, to run concurrently with the four months handed down for assault of the first victim.
He must serve at least two-thirds of that sentence and will be on licence for four years once he leaves prison.
A restraining order has also been put in place in relation to both victims.
Support and guidance for victims of sexual assault and rape is available from the police and partner agencies, as well as through the criminal investigation process.
Victims can make a report by using the online reporting tool or calling 101.
You can also contact Bedfordshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), the Emerald Centre, which offers a safe, non-judgmental, caring and sensitive service or the Hope Programme, which provides support, counselling and coaching for sexual victims in Bedfordshire.
Always call 999 in an emergency.