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Man jailed for assaulting 20 women on week-long sexual crime spree

|News, Sexual offences

A 21-year-old man has been jailed for 14 months at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court for sexually assaulting 20 females over an eight-day period in March 2021.

Joshua Etchells approached the women and girls from behind as they jogged or walked on canal tow paths, cycle paths, along the river or on nearby streets. He then slapped or grabbed their backsides as he cycled past them, before making off at speed so he could not be caught. One victim was 14 years old.

All the assaults were committed as Etchells cycled to and from work and on his days off at various locations around Greater Manchester and Cheshire, including along the Bridgewater Canal, on the Trans Pennine Trail and along the River Mersey.

Howard Gough for the CPS said: "Joshua Etchells carried out a series of sexual offences during daytime hours whilst he was on his way to and from work and as he cycled around the area at weekends. Some of his victims were jogging or walking alone, others were with a friend.

"He initially denied being responsible for the sexual assaults, but we worked closely with the police to build a strong case against him. When faced with the overwhelming evidence, including extensive CCTV, telephone and cell site evidence, he was left with no other option than to accept responsibility and pleaded guilty at a hearing last month.

"He left behind a trail of physical pain, shock, distress, and fear. Some of his victims are still suffering the psychological impact of what he did to them. I would like to thank every one of his victims for reporting their assaults to the police which has assisted in us in bringing this sexual predator to justice.

"Every woman should feel free and safe to go about their daily business, including exercising or walking alone, without fear of being sexually assaulted."

Notes to editors

  • Howard Gough is a Senior District Crown Prosecutor for the North West Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Unit.

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