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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Awards for Cumbrian men who saved woman from sex attacker

Two men who rescued a terrified woman being held captive by a sex attacker have been described as “heroes” by Cumbria’s top judge.

Sex attack heroes photo
Craig Wilson, right, and Michael Bryceson

The pair leapt into action when they spotted the woman sitting on the windowsill of an upstairs flat in Wigton, screaming for help.

The woman was threatening to jump out of the window, but the men got there quickly enough to gently help her down.

The two men – newsagent Craig Wilson and his assistant Mike Bryceson – were at Carlisle Crown Court yesterday to each receive a £100 reward and official commendation for their actions from Cumbria’s High Sheriff, Juliet Westoll.

They had been awarded the honour by the city’s Honorary Recorder, Judge Paul Batty QC, who in September sent 45-year-old pervert John Robinson to prison indefinitely after labelling him “a sexual deviant and a danger to women”.

During a short ceremony, the judge said: “Their conduct was deserving of the highest of praise. They did something well beyond what might be expected of members of the public.”

Mr Wilson said after the ceremony: “I’m a bit embarrassed. You don’t expect a reward for something like that.”

And Mr Bryceson added: “You do it because someone wants some help. You don’t think about it.

“She would have hurt herself if she had jumped.”

The court heard that the woman, who was in her late 30s, had gone back to Robinson’s flat above a shop in Wigton’s High Street one night in September last year.

Once inside he locked the door behind them, took off all his clothes and spiked her drink so she fell asleep. She woke up to an assault taking place.

She eventually managed to find a window that opened, but it was so high she did not dare jump for fear of breaking her legs.

The woman sat on the windowsill for about 10 minutes, with one leg inside the room and the other outside, screaming for help until Mr Wilson and Mr Wise appeared in the street below.

By that time she had been held captive for about five hours.

During his trial, Robinson pleaded not guilty to falsely imprisoning her and sexually assaulting her – claiming she was only climbing out of the window because she had stolen £20 from him.

It then emerged that the former shop worker had previous convictions for committing a sex act outside a women’s refuge after banging on the window to attract the attention of the people inside and for climbing into a disused factory and indecently exposing himself to two women who walked past.

He could also have been locked up years ago after committing sex acts in front of three teenage girls he had chased through Carlisle, but he got away with it because the girls’ parents refused to let their daughters go to court to give evidence.

The indefinite sentence imposed means he will have to serve at least four years in prison and will not be released until he is no longer considered to be a risk to the public – so, in theory, he might never be released.

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