A man has been jailed for seven years and four months after sexually assaulting a woman following a night out with friends in Colchester.
Laurentiu Popa, of Oaks Drive, Colchester, was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court after admitting to one count of digital penetration and theft.
Popa, 21, was also given a six month sentence for theft, to run concurrently, and will be added to the sex offenders’ register.
He had previously pleaded guilty to the offences at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday, May 22.
On Saturday, November 26, 2016, a woman was walking alone at around 3am following a night out with friends.
She was then attacked by Popa before being pushed to the floor in Lexden Road and sexually assaulted. Items belonging to the victim were then stolen.
Officers were called by a member of a public and CCTV from the incident was later released to the media and posted on social media sites on Thursday, December 8.
The following day Popa was arrested, interviewed and charged.
Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Terry Balding, of Essex Police’s Public Protection Investigation Team, said: “Popa preyed on a woman walking alone following a night out for his own sexual gratification.
He subjected her to a horrific ordeal and showed no regard for his actions, stealing items from her before fleeing the scene.
“The victim has shown enormous amount bravery by helping throughout the entire investigation, despite her attacker showing no remorse for his actions.
Popa certainly has plenty of time to think about those actions in his prison cell.
“I would also like to thank everyone involved in this case – particularly Dc Jo Cooper and members of the Adult Sexual Abuse Investigation Team – along with members of the media and the public who helped share the CCTV appeal which led to Popa’s arrest.
“Thank you for your continued support in helping to take people like Popa off our streets.”