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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Carlisle bag grab bid man cleared of sex attack

A man who tried to grab a woman’s handbag in Carlisle and then handed himself in to police has been cleared of sexually assaulting her.

Related: Carlisle robbery bid man denies sex assault

At the city’s crown court yesterday morning, a jury returned its not guilty verdict on Michael John Yerkess, 25, of Port Road.

In his interview with police, Yerkess told officers that his sole intention had been to grab the young woman’s handbag.

There was never any sexual element to what he had done, he told the detectives.

After the verdict, his defence barrister Farrhat Arshad told the court that Yerkess had money worries and had tried to the take the woman’s handbag in what had been a “moment of madness.”

He had been appalled when it was suggested there was a sexual motive to what he did and it was he who handed himself into police.

Ms Arshad said her client, who had a supportive family, had expressed remorse for the attempted robbery, which he had earlier admitted.

The jury had earlier heard how he tried to grab his 21-year-old victim’s bag as she was getting into her car on a night in October last year.

Police later asked him: “Did you do anything sexual?”

Yerkess replied: “No - no. I swear.”

Yerkess was given a 12 month jail term for the attempted robbery, which given the time he has spent on remand means he should be eligible for release within eight to ten days.

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