Craig Potterton – Repeat Sex Offender – raped 78 year old woman for 3 hours

A SEX offender might never leave jail again after he subjected a 78-year-old widow to a three-hour late-night rape ordeal in her home.

Craig Potterton, 23, half-strangled the York pensioner, threatened to kill her and ignored her repeated demands to leave her sheltered accommodation after knocking on her door at midnight last September, Christine Egerton, for the Crown Prosecution Service, told York Crown Court.

He was on parole at the time from a lengthy jail sentence for robbing a fellow hostel resident and also had previous sex convictions.

He eventually left after 3am on Saturday, September 20. It was days before the victim could tell the police what had happened.

Four years before the rape, Potterton had stolen the pensioner’s jewellery and cash after she had taken pity on him when he was homeless and allowed him to stay with her for a few weeks. Giving him an indefinite sentence for public protection, the Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, told him: “She is a lady who has treated you with kindness in the past. What you did to her was dreadful. One can only imagine the thoughts running through that 78-year-old lady’s head. What had she done to deserve such treatment?” He called Potterton “very dangerous” and warned him that though he could apply for parole after five years, “it may well be you will be detained indefinitely.”

Detective Inspector Maria Taylor said: “I would like to pay tribute to the victim who has been through a terrifying ordeal at the hands of Potterton. Today’s sentence reflects the seriousness of this heinous crime, which although very rare, has a devastating effect on victims. We are pleased that a very dangerous, callous and violent individual has been taken off the streets”

Potterton will be on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life after he pleaded guilty to rape.

Miss Egerton said he had been released from jail to live in a Dewsbury probation hostel six weeks before the rape. But he broke his parole conditions by taking alcohol to the hostel. Fearing he would be sent back to jail, he caught a train to York. He knew the widow because a friend of hers had introduced them four years earlier.

Potterton pleaded guilty on the basis that he had gone to her home seeking a place to sleep. His barrister Nicholas Barker said he had smoked cannabis, drunk alcohol and taken Ecstasy before the rape. He had not planned the crime. He had had a disrupted childhood that left him angry and dysfunctional.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”
………Sarah Tofte