A 39-YEAR-OLD man responsible for a “chilling” assault on a terrified woman walking home from a Cirencester nightclub has been jailed.

Oliver Gillespie, of Oaktree Ave, Pucklechurch, pleaded guilty at Gloucester Crown Court yesterday to assaulting a woman in Oaklands, Cirencester, causing her actual bodily harm on August 6 2017.

Handing Gillspie a 19 month sentence, Judge Jamie Tabor QC described the 3am assault as "chilling".

Gillespie had originally been accused of attempting to rob the woman of her handbag but that charge was not pursued by the prosecution.

Prosecutor Lucie Stoker said the victim left a nightclub in the town at 2.30am, having drunk very little that evening.

"The victim made the sensible decision to keep to main roads, when she came across the defendant sat on a bench in Trinity Road," she said.

"He asked her if she knew a number for a taxi. She said she didn't and continued to walk briskly as it was cold."

She said that the victim walked down Somerford Road and then turned onto Oaklands, when she “felt a hand on her shoulder".

"He followed her some distance," the judge noted, "So, it's got nothing to do with asking about taxis."

Ms Stoker continued by saying the victim felt her hair being grabbed from behind and screamed for him to get off and that a struggle ensued, with the victim feeling he was trying to pull her from the estate by her hair.

"There were repeated punches to her face, with one to her eye socket,” said Ms Stoker. "She scratches out at the defendant and that was how he was forensically linked.

Ms Stoker said that the victim asked him "What do you want?" and he replied "Stop screaming".

"The victim opened her bag to get out her phone, and the bag fell to the floor, at this stage she ran away. Gillespie ran after her but then stopped," Ms Stoker said.

The judged noted "He had ample opportunity for sexual contact but didn't?"

Ms Stoker responded: "There is nothing to give evidence of a sexual motive."

The judge then asked whether he had wanted her money, or was so addled, he was a menace, to which Ms Stoker said she had no explanation.

The judge said: "That's more disturbing. A vulnerable victim in a quiet spot, and a sustained assault."

The court heard from a victim impact statement the woman made, in which she said that it was "an experience that no one should ever feel. It traumatised me.”

"I was petrified for days after”, the statement read. “I felt the need to attend counselling to recover from my ordeal.

"I'm frightened to return to Cirencester. What I've been through was very distressing."

Gillespie's lawyer, Matther Comer, said that his client would like to apologise to her, and he regretted it.

He said that Gillespie had been drinking to excess and couldn't find a taxi. He said that he couldn't really remember what happened.

Mr Comer told the job that Gillespie had a class A drug addiction in the past, but had put that behind him.

Gillespie could return to his job as a groundworker on his eventual release, he told the judge.

"He wants to get on with his sentence and start life afresh" Mr Comer concluded.

The judge said to Gillespie "Your case is a very troubling one. You'd been out drinking, far too much.

“At 2.30am this lone female leaves a club and walks down a main road. She comes into contact with you, and what follows thereafter is chilling. You patently followed her for some distance. You attacked her. Pulled her hair, and punched her.

"This was bizarre behaviour as you were telling her to shut up. There were no demands for money and no form of sexual advance towards her.

"It must have been horrifying for her. She must have been expecting the worst. It's the sort of thing that everyone is terrified of happening to them.

"A perplexing and serious case, with no particular motive, and you have no explanation for it.

"The injury you cause was twofold. The bruising, but also the traumatic psychological injury. This was an attack on a lone female at night with a degree of premeditation, as you had followed her for some distance."