A MAN subjected his victim to a "harrowing" attack as she walked through a Hampshire town centre.

Jeremy Blake Simmons banged a woman’s head against metal railings and then dragged her into Leigh Road Park, Eastleigh.

He told the 19-year-old he had a gun and kicked her to stop her screaming.

Simmons, 20, had pounced on the woman as she walked along Leigh Road.

Prosecution barrister, Christopher Wing, said how the woman was left feeling anxious, depressed and suffering nightmares.

Simmons, of no fixed address, said he had been trying to rob the woman who had been wearing headphones and was oblivious to his presence.

He was only stopped when a quick-witted CCTV operator alerted police to the attack.

Simmons earlier pleaded guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm, making threats to kill and one count of kidnap.

But following a three-day trial at Southampton Crown Court in March, he was found guilty of kidnap with intent to commit a sexual offence.

He also pleaded guilty to a separate incident of robbery and four counts of fraud.

Defending, Elisabeth Bussey-Jones, said that her client’s life had spiralled out of control following the death of his mother in 2019.

She argued he had been subjected to severe abuse and neglect as a child.

Judge Christopher Parker QC branded him a danger to the public - especially to young women - and gave him an extended sentence following the attacks on August 1 and August 4 last year.

He was jailed for a total of 13 years and four months.

After serving a minimum of eight years and four months, he will spend eight years on licence.

Following the sentencing, Detective Constable Sean Owens from Hampshire Constabulary’s Amberstone team, said: “This was a truly harrowing and unprovoked attack on a vulnerable woman late at night. At a time where she should feel safe walking home within her local community, she was subjected to a serious assault.

“I would like to commend the victim for her courage that she has shown throughout the whole investigation. This was no doubt an awful ordeal which she was faced to re-live; but we must praise her for doing so, as it is not always easy to do so. I would also like to say thank you to the CCTV operator who alerted police to the attack – undoubtedly their quick thinking ensured that the victim was not subjected to a more severe and violent attack.

“The investigators on the case, who form part of our specialist Amberstone unit which handle cases such as these, showed great tenacity in getting us to this point.

“Hampshire Constabulary is dedicated to getting justice for victims and ensuring Eastleigh is a safe place to live.

“I hope this sentence today goes some way to giving the woman closure and reassures her, and the communities in Hampshire, that justice has been served."