A "predator" who forced a 16-year-old to the ground and attacked her while she was walking home has been jailed.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been in a bar in Rayleigh on the night of January 5 when she got in to a conversation with 20 year-old Bradley Boyd.

During the evening Boyd had made advances towards the victim which she rebuffed.

She left the bar at around 3am with her friends, before leaving them and walking with Boyd along Eastwood Road at the junction of High Street where the victim told Boyd she would make the rest of the journey home on her own.

Shortly after they parted, she began walking down an alleyway near to M&S when a man approached her from behind, forced her to the ground, and assaulted her.

He ran off when her phone rang.

The victim identified her attacker as wearing the same distinctive black Adidas jacket that Boyd was wearing and had the same build.

Boyd, of Woodside Avenue, Benfleet, was arrested at 7.25am on Saturday, January 6, and charged with assault be penetration.

Following a six day trial at Chelmsford Crown Court, he was found not guilty of assault by penetration but guilty of actual bodily harm on Monday, July 9.

He has been sentenced to 40 months in prison.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Leon Pezzuolo said: “Bradley Boyd assault on the victim was sexually motivated and his advances had been rebuffed by her several times during the evening.

“He had been told to leave her alone several times but refused to, attacking her as she went home.

“His actions were totally unacceptable and he acted in a predatory fashion.

“This was a very serious case which was emphasised by the fact the judge went beyond the guidelines when considering Boyd’s sentence.”