Grantham

Grantham man jailed for attempting to rape 94-year-old woman

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A Grantham man who broke into a house in the town and attempted to rape a frail elderly woman has been jailed for 14 years.

Gregory Willis was discovered in the 94-year-old’s bedroom when members of her family went to check on her after discovering their front door was open.

Jonathan Straw, prosecuting, told a jury that the victim was being cared for by members of her family after she moved out of a care home to live with them in Grantham.

Mr Straw said the incident happened at a get together of family members including the victim’s granddaughter and great grandchildren.

The prosecutor told the jury that the old lady was asleep in her room while other family members chatted in a back room.

“There came a point when they noticed that the front door to the house was open. Immediately they were concerned.

“They went into the living room and there they saw this defendant in the room. His trousers were removed. He had his boxer shorts on and his penis exposed.”

“The victim was in bed, The covers had been pulled back and her pyjama bottoms had been pulled off. Had he not been disturbed, as mercifully he was, he was going to rape that 94-year-old lady in that bed.”

Willis was ordered out of the house but soon afterwards returned knocking on the door saying something about visiting his aunt’s home.

Police were contacted by the family and Willis was detained nearby.

He was searched and the key to the family’s car was found on him.

The jury was told that the victim passed away four months after the incident although her death was not connected with the attempted rape.

Willis, 25, of Harris Way, Grantham, denied attempted rape as a result of the incident on August 14, 2016 but was found guilty by a jury following a trial.

He had earlier admitted burglary.

He also admitted a second unconnected burglary at a house in Sidney Street, Grantham.

Willis, who during his trial admitted sexual assault on the victim, denied attempted rape saying that although he had no memory of what happened he would never have committed such an horrific offence.

Mark Watson, in mitigation, said Willis apologised to the victim and her family for what he had done.

“He was plainly under the influence of something.

“There is nothing about the offence that he can remember. It may be due to alcohol but it may be that he is unable to bring himself to believe what happened.”

Judge John Pini QC, passing sentence, told Willis: “The circumstances of this case are as deeply shocking, horrifying and appalling as could possibly be imagined.”