A man who violently sexually assaulted a woman twice as she walked home from a pub five years ago has been found guilty.
Heldon claimed he grabbed his victim initially because he thought she was falsely accusing him of stealing her bag, and only grabbed her pants to help him get up when he accidentally fell on top of her, the court heard.
Benjamin Joshua Heldon (pictured) has been found guilty of violently sexually assaulting a woman twice as she walked home from a pub five years ago
While giving evidence, he claimed his actions were ‘not violent’ and the incident happened out of ‘self-preservation’.
Prosecutor Emily Telfer SC told the jury the woman was on the phone to her boyfriend when she turned to see Heldon standing alarmingly close to her.
She said he then smiled at her under the light of a pathway at Victoria Path. She starting to run away but he grabbed her and threw her to the ground.
Ms Telfer said the woman told Heldon police had been called and she was on the phone to her boyfriend, to which he responded, ‘I know, I know’.
‘She punched him to the face and she gouged his eyes. As she grappled with him, she realised the man had long, matted dreadlocked hair and her glasses were tangled in that hair.’
Ms Telfer (with covered head) said the woman told Heldon police had been called and she was on the phone to her boyfriend, to which he responded, ‘I know, I know’
While pinning her to the ground, Heldon managed to get his hands down the woman’s pants and sexually assault her twice.
‘The man tried to consistently get her from lying on her back to her front, she decided that an important strategy to stop him…was to remain on her back,’ Ms Telfer said.
‘To help her to do that, she grabbed on to one of his dreadlocks. He tried to bite her hand, eventually she managed to get her legs up underneath him and she pushed her attacker off. As she pushed him off, the dreadlock came away from her attacker’s head and stayed in her hand.
The victim, who gave evidence in closed court, then scrambled backwards and ran away.
While pinning her to the ground, Heldon (pictured) managed to get his hands down the woman’s pants and sexually assault her twice
The dreadlock would come to be the securing piece of evidence that led to his arrest, with Ms Telfer saying it was ‘one billion times more likely’ to come from Heldon than anyone else.
The court heard that DNA was extracted from the dreadlock but it took three years for police to find a match and arrest Heldon.
The court was told police later allegedly found matted hair at the scene and strands entangled in the victim’s glasses, which she lost during the sexual assault.
It was also told how forensic tests uncovered a DNA match with the hair along with swabs from the alleged victim’s hands and fingernails.
By the time he was arrested, Heldon had moved to the New South Wales mid north coast near Coffs Habour.
The court heard that DNA was extracted from the dreadlock but it took three years for police to find a match and arrest Heldon (pictured)
‘Police searched the house and located more than just images — hanging on a hook in the main bedroom was a bundle of long dreadlocks that had been cut,’ Ms Telfer told the court.
‘Numerous images of the accused were located that showed him wearing his hair in dreadlocks, that were long and hung down his back.’
Heldon has denied the sexual assault allegations and will face sentencing at a later date.
His lawyer told the court his client admitted he came into physical contact with the woman at the park that night but said the ‘mechanics of that physical interaction’ and the ‘state of mind of the accused’ will be issues in contention.