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Violent sex attacker Stuart Barton was on bail for having sex with a schoolgirl
A VIOLENT sex attacker who raped an innocent stranger on her way back from a party was on bail for sleeping with a 13-year-old girl, the Daily Echo can reveal.
Stuart Burton grabbed the terrified reveller in a Southampton park before strangling and forcing her to the ground.
Now it has emerged that attack happened just months after he was released on bail after having sex with a schoolgirl he groomed over a number of months.
But after he was jailed for a total of 12 years for both offences prosecutors defended the decision not to remand him in custody pending trial for the first offence.
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Burton, 23, of Rotterdam Towers, stared into the public gallery at Southampton Crown Court after being sentenced for the rape and sex with the 13-year-old girl.
He admitted the charges at an earlier hearing.
Burton was making his way home in the early hours of January 1 after being thrown out of a house party when he stumbled across the woman in a park in Northam near Union Road. He hit the 33-year-old before pushing her into mud and forcing himself onto her.
Prosecutor Simon Jones told the court: “His hands were around her neck and strangling her. She thought about screaming when she could breathe again but was too scared.”
Burton eventually fled and the terrified woman – who had been returning from another house party – flagged down two passers-by to help her.
She suffered two black eyes and cuts and bruising to her face and body.
The court also heard how Burton had been previously been arrested in September and charged in November for having sex with a 13-year-old girl.
He had built up a secret relationship with her for a number of months after befriending her mother.
The court heard he exchanged suggestive text messages when she was still 12 before eventually having intercourse between April and June last year.
Mr Jones said it amounted to “grooming” and added: “There was no doubt he knew her age.”
Burton initially denied the charge – arguing the girl had been “harassing”
him via text messages.
He also denied raping the woman, claiming his route home was through a different part of the park. But he changed his plea at a later date.
In mitigation for Burton, Louisa Bagley said her client was suffering the impacts of a cycle of abandonment and homelessness.
She added that Burton – who has 21 previous convictions for 30 violent offences including wounding– was “very immature for his years”.
But at sentencing Judge Peter Rawls branded him as a “dangerous offender” who at times was “out of control.”
He said the park attack: “Shows appalling callousness and cruelty the way you treated the unfortunate woman.
“She was a stranger and you had no thought of her wellbeing.”
Burton will also face a further five years supervision on his release.
A Crown Prosecution Service spokeswoman said there was “careful consideration” in granting him bail.
She said: “Although he had previous convictions, they were not of a sexual nature and he had been on police bail since September 2013.
“The police attached conditions to his bail, which were subsequently approved by the Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court.”