Man jailed over sex attack on Northumbria Uni student who was walking home from night out

The 19-year-old student contemplated dropping out of uni after the attack

A university student has been sentenced to two years in prison for sexually assaulting a woman.

Daniel Theobald appeared in Teesside Crown Court last month after attacking a 19-year-old student on October 16th last year.

Theobald, 23, grabbed the woman on a footbridge near Camden Street, Shieldfield, in the early hours, knocking her to the floor before groping her breasts and body, Chronicle Live reports.

The woman then ran to her accommodation and notified security, who contacted the police.

The court heard how Theobald was walking home to Heaton after a night out with friends in Newcastle. His victim was also walking back to her student accommodation with a friend, before they parted ways at John Dobson Street and she began walking alone. It was then that Theobald attacked the student, despite unintentionally following her out of town.

Rachel Masters, prosecuting, said: “The defendant continued to follow her and the complainant was on her phone. She saw the defendant was behind her and was concerned she was being followed. The defendant was closing the gap between them.

“The defendant then grabbed her and put his hand around her waist, causing her to slip to the ground.”

The attack on the woman left her with psychological issues. In her victim statement, she said the attack made her depression and anxiety worse and was left with memories that left her feeling “paranoid and sick”. She also said she contemplated dropping out of university.

Theobald, of Burlington Gardens, Heaton, has no prior convictions. Rachel Hedworth, defending, said that Theobald had shown “utter, genuine remorse”, despite this attack being “horrendous” and “every girl’s nightmare”.

She said: “He was brought up in an incredibly loving, stable environment with close parents and siblings. Prior to this act, he has behaved in an exemplary way. He started to feel anxious and depressed at around 15 or 16 years old.”

Despite these feelings of depression at school, Theobald achieved A and A* grades as well as gaining a first class degree in history from Bristol University, where he also volunteered in a museum and was captain of a rugby team. He was said to have an “extremely hard work ethic”.

The court heard that Theobold worked in a marketing agency before moving back to Newcastle. The breakdown of a relationship and the death of his grandmother led to him drinking alcohol frequently. Ms. Hedworth said Theobald, who has autistic spectrum disorder, had “no proper recollection for what he did. It completely sickens him what took place.”

Judge Howard Crownson called the attack “moderately violent” and of causing “severe psychological harm” to the victim. He sentenced Theobald to two years in prison and placed him on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.

Featured image via Northumbria Police.

If you are a Northumbria University student feeling unsettled about the news, please be aware that support is available. You can access 24/7 information, advice and support through the Ask4Help service and specialist support through the professional counselling and mental health team. To access these services please visit Student Life and Wellbeing.