A St Helens man who carried out a brutal sex attack on a teenage girl then fled the country has been jailed for seven years.
Gareth Burke was armed with a large knife when he targeted a 19-year-old woman in Jubilee Park, Huyton, at about 11.30pm on January 13.
Liverpool Crown Court heard how Burke, 24, of Thompson Street, Grange Park, approached the victim from behind, held the knife to her side and forced her onto a grassed area before subjecting her to a serious sex assault.
The victim resisted and during the struggle, Burke’s knife was bent and fell onto the ground.
Police were able to establish that Burke had initially seen his victim as he was driving a Vauxhall Astra along Huyton Hey Road.
He then did a u-turn, parked the vehicle and followed her, before attacking her. Burke, who admitted attempted rape, assault and possession of an offensive weapon, was jailed for seven years with a further three years on an extended licence.
Det Sgt Paul Donaghy said: “Burke put his victim through a horrific ordeal which will stay with her for the rest of her life.
“Officers spent numerous hours trawling through CCTV looking for images of the offender or the car he was driving. We also visited the owners of Vauxhall Astras across Merseyside.
“As a result, Gareth Burke was identified as a possible suspect. His DNA was found to match forensic evidence at the scene and he was arrested attempting to board a cross-channel ferry.
“The victim has shown bravery and a remarkable strength - from struggling with Burke on the night of the attack through to supporting the criminal justice process.”