A ‘DANGEROUS’ predator who tried to rape a woman and sexually assaulted a teenage girl has been sent to prison for 10 years.
Michael Hamer, of Blackburn, ‘stalked’ his victims, who were walking alone, before dragging them off the street, putting his hand over their mouths to stop them screaming and then attacking them in bushes.
While police were investigating the first assault on the 13-year-old girl, the 26-year-old pounced on his second victim as she walked to a relative’s house.
Both were left ‘terrified’ by their ordeals.
DC Dan Perkins said what Hamer did to his victims was ‘every woman’s worst nightmare’.
He said it was also possible the defendant had done similar things to other women who had not yet come forward.
The first assault happened as the teenager walked along Whalley New Road at around 8.30pm on September 13 last year.
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PC Perkins said Hamer followed the youngster for a while, before approaching her near Perry’s Garage.
She was dragged into some bushes where he attacked her.
The second incident happened as Hamer’s 25-year-old victim walked along Norbreck Close at around 4.15pm on October 16.
After following her for some time, he grabbed her, dragged her into undergrowth on wasteland and tried to rape her.
The woman bravely fought off her attacker, hitting him and managing to scratch his chest.
As she struggled with him, a young boy came past, causing Hamer to flee the scene.
Police launched an investigation and the defendant was spotted on CCTV. Officers also picked up clothing which he had dumped as he made his way home to Walsh Street following the attack.
The self-employed gardener was arrested a few days later and he later pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault on a child and attempted rape.
Judge Jonathan Gibson, sitting at Burnley Crown Court, handed him an extended sentence, which means he will spend 10 years behind bars before spending another eight on licence.
The defendant had previously been charged with raping a 17-year-old girl in Blackburn in June 2008, but he was cleared by a jury.
Speaking after the sentence, DC Perkins said: “Hamer was certainly a dangerous person to have in public and there may be other victims that have not come forward.
“He was prepared to stalk his victims and he was willing to abduct them off the street.
“Even if you take a person off the path they are walking on for a short period of time, that is still an action of abduction.
“Hamer had the intention to commit serious sexual offences on young girls and women. It is a woman’s worst nightmare.
“He chose petite women to make his offences easier. He dragged them off into bushes with his hand over their mouths on both occasions.
“They must have been absolutely terrified.
“I am very happy with the sentence. It is a big plus for making the streets safer.”