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Evil sex attacker dragged girl, 15, by neck away from friends near city centre park before brutally raping her

A SICKO grabbed a schoolgirl by her neck and dragged her away from pals before raping her as she feared for her life.

Vile Joshua Hughes forced his 15-year-old victim to a secluded area of Chester city centre as she pleaded for him to let her go before brutally attacking her.

Cheshire Constabulary

Joshua Hughes has been found guilty of kidnap and rape[/caption]

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The 27-year-old dragged his teenage victim away from pals near Grosvenor Park in Chester[/caption]

The teen was with two friends walking up steps of a suspension bridge near Grosvenor Park at about 8.20pm on October 21 when the 27-year-old approached them.

Hughes – branded “dangerous” by police – put his arm around the girl’s neck and pulled her away to a nearby location.

The 27-year-old then raped her before climbing over a wall and fleeing the scene.

The victim’s friends ran for help, alerting other members of the public as one of them dialled 999.

Detectives launched a complex investigation including forensics, extensive CCTV and numerous witness enquiries.

From these enquiries Hughes was identified as a suspect and arrested on November 4.

Hughes, of no fixed address, was today found guilty of kidnap and rape following a four-day trial at Chester Crown Court.

The evil sex attacker is due to be sentenced at the same court on Monday, July 5.

Detective Chief Inspector Justin Hancock from Cheshire Constabulary’s Western Crime Unit, said: “Joshua Hughes subjected a 15-year-old girl to a truly horrendous ordeal that night.

“He grabbed her while she was out with her friends in public and, despite her desperate pleas for him to let her go, he continued to drag her away where she feared for her life.

“The quick thinking of her friend to call 999 ensured a swift police response so that vital evidence was preserved.

“I would like to thank the victim for the strength and bravery she has shown throughout the investigation.

“I hope that the guilty verdict, and the sentence that will be handed down to Hughes, will provide the victim and her family with some comfort during an incredibly difficult time.

“I would also like to thank the members of public who assisted the investigation.

DCI Hancock added that these types offences are “extremely rare”.

“Hughes is a dangerous and predatory criminal and I hope that this conviction gives the public some reassurance that justice has been served and that Chester remains a safe place to live and enjoy,” he added.

If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans for free on 116123.

HOW YOU CAN GET HELP:

Women's Aid has this advice for victims and their families:

  • Always keep your phone nearby.
  • Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
  • If you are in danger, call 999.
  • Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
  • Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
  • If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
  • Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.

If you are a ­victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support ­service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – messageinfo@supportline.org.uk.

Women’s Aid provides a live chat service – available every day from 10am-6pm.

You can also call the freephone 24-hour ­National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

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