A SEX attacker at the centre of a rooftop drama that brought part of Southampton to a standstill has been jailed for 11 years.

Derek Johnston, 39, staged a 14-hour stand-off with police and threatened to hurl himself off a house.

Officers sealed off surrounding streets while police negotiators on a crane desperately tried to coax him down in baking heat.

Officers stood down as darkness fell – returning to the property in the early hours to find he had vanished.

Embarrassingly, they finally discovered him hiding in a bed in the same home the following day.

Now the violent sex attacker, of no fixed address, is behind bars for attempted rape and two counts of sexual assault of a woman. He had denied the charges.

Daily Echo:

Southampton Crown Court heard how Johnston attacked the woman, who cannot be identified for legal reason, on July 9 of last year after breaking into a home in the city and hiding in the garage.

The court heard how he pounced while she used the washing machine.

In a video recording played to the court, the woman said: “I thought he was going to kill me.

“I could hear my children running around upstairs and I thought I would be lying dead downstairs and no one would know.”

She described how he held his hand around her throat before trying to rape her.

It was only when the woman’s mother arrived at the front door to babysit the children that the victim managed to bite Johnston’s hand, cry out for help and get away, the court heard.

While the woman’s mother got the children out of the house Johnston ran upstairs to the bathroom and escaped onto the roof where he remained into the early hours.

The court heard how police eventually arrested him the next day after finding him hiding in a storage cupboard under the bed.

Prosecutor Rachel Robertson said it was a “sustained” attack adding: “There was an element of planning and lying in wait.

“It took place in her home which is her place of safety and the presence of the children left unattended.”

The court also heard how Johnston had attacked the same woman at her home the previous April, going to her bedroom and sexually assaulting her twice.

Mitigating, Elizabeth Bussey-Jones, said the garage attack lasted just minutes and said: “The amount of time she was subjected to the attack is limited to that extent.”

She stressed he did not represent a high or substantial risk of reoffending and added: “He bitterly regrets it.”

But sentencing, Judge Henry branded Johnston, “violent” and “intimidating” and said: “You remained hiding in her house for hours on end listening and waiting and then attacked her.

“The only reason that you didn’t rape her is that her mother appeared at the door and she screamed out.”

He branded the roof stand-off and subsequent hiding as “bizarre”.

Judge Henry imposed a restraining order preventing him from entering a large area of Southampton and ordered him to pay a £120 victim surcharge.