A man who sexually assaulted a woman as she lay terrified in her own bed, and then burgled her home has been convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison.
Peter Meads, 39, of Great Knightleys in Basildon, was arrested within six hours of the incident taking place – thanks to the quick thinking and reaction of Basildon officers.
He was charged with one count of sexual assault and three counts of burglary and first appeared at Basildon Magistrates Court on Monday, March 14.
Unemployed Meads was due to stand trial but pleaded guilty to the offences at Basildon Crown Court on Wednesday, July 27.
Investigating Officer Dc Deborah Williams, said: “This was a truly abhorrent offence. Meads entered the woman s bedroom whilst she was asleep and when she awoke he threatened her in the very place where she should feel safe. He assaulted her, rifled through her belongings, threatened her and left her terrified. I commend her bravery in coming forward as without her we would not have been able to secure this conviction.
The incident happened at around 5am on Saturday, March 12. Meads attended the property and entered the victim s bedroom. She woke up and saw him standing at the end of the bed. He threatened her, sexually assaulted her and then stole a four figure sum of cash and a laptop from her property.
He left the scene and his terrified victim called police.
As officers began to investigate the incident, another burglary which occurred nearby in Gladwyns was reported to police. This had happened in the early hours of Saturday, March 12. An iPhone, iPad and watch had been stolen. The victim used his laptop to track his iPhone and it was found to be showing that it was in Great Knightleys.
Two officers attended the area and stopped Meads. He was in possession of two iPhones and a three figure sum of cash. A further search of his house uncovered the iPad, watch and laptop. He was arrested.
Whilst being questioned for these offences, he was further arrested for a burglary which happened in Great Knightleys on during the evening of Saturday, November 28, 2015. He broke into the house and entered a bedroom but was disturbed by the woman inside and made off from the scene, ran downstairs and out of the back door, damaging a fence in the process. Whilst officers were investigating that burglary, Meads claimed to be a witness as he said he tried to detain the suspect and was stabbed in the leg by three men who called him a grass . During further interview, officers found his account to be completely unbelievable and he was charged with the offence.
DI Chris Rose, who led the investigation, said: “Officers used their local knowledge of this man to connect him to the offences.
“Their quick thinking and reactions meant Meads was caught with the stolen items and those items and the cash were recovered. They worked extensive hours over the weekend to ensure he was able to be charged, convicted and taken off our streets. It was a great team effort to put this vile individual behind bars.