Man used drawstring from JD Sports bag to drag woman to the ground
- Credit: Suffolk Constabulary
A 24-year-old man who dragged a woman to the ground after looping a cord from a JD Sports bag around her neck has been jailed.
Shane Smith subjected the woman to "a terrifying experience" in Haughley, near Stowmarket, after following her on Boxing Day last year, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
Smith began following the woman, who was walking home from work, around 3.40pm, David Baird, prosecuting, told the court.
He followed her on Fishponds Way, before the woman turned into Dagworth Lane, which has a field running alongside one side of the road, Mr Baird said.
As Smith began to get closer, the woman moved aside to let him pass but he wrapped the drawstring from a sports duffle bag around her neck, put his knee into her back and pulled her to the ground.
Smith then straddled the victim, who fought back by punching and kicking, before he tried to push her face onto the grass area.
The victim then pulled the face mask off Smith and recognised him as someone she knew through a friend.
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She asked him: "What are you doing?"
Smith replied: "I thought you were someone else, don't tell the police."
Smith was arrested around 6pm on Boxing Day, and officers described him as being unsteady on his feet and was smoking a cannabis joint.
He gave a largely no comment interview to police officers.
The woman, who sustained minor injuries to her neck, provided a victim impact statement to the court, which was summarised by Mr Baird.
She said the incident had had a significant impact on her, and she now took a taxi to and from work everyday because she was nervous to walk.
Smith, of Stowupland Road, Stowmarket, pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm, falsely imprisoning her by trying to force her head onto the grass, and possessing cannabis.
Joanne Eley, mitigating, said Smith, who had no previous convictions, had suffered a family bereavement a month before the incident.
She said Smith had mental health issues and due to his drug misuse, had got himself in "quite a pickle" financially and into debt with a dealer.
Ms Eley said Smith was under instructions to carry out the assault.
Judge David Pugh jailed Smith for 22 months and told him he will have to serve half of the sentence in custody before his release on licence.
A five-year restraining order was also imposed, banning Smith from contacting the victim.