A man described as being a "risk to young women" has been sent to jail for five years after he admitted a seafront sex attack on a schoolgirl in Hastings.

Peter Harris, 44, carried out the attack on Bulverhythe Beach, Hastings, while wearing just shoes and sunglasses. He chased the girl along the beach before sexually assaulting her.

Lewes Crown Court was told the 15-year-old girl had been running away from Harris with a girlfriend, but had slipped on pebbles and he was able to catch her. The girl's screams alerted people nearby and Harris was caught by a member of the public at the Glyne Gap car park. He sustained minor injuries while being apprehended.

Harris, of Margate, Kent, who admitted indecent assault, was described as having had an "insular, low-achieving life". Iain Wicks, defending said: "The best point he has in his favour is his guilty plea. "He had the express wish to spare the trauma to the witnesses who came to court. This is a defendant who is not the plain sex offender and no more. He shows some insight and the right sort of signs to reform. He acknowledges the wrongfullness of it."

Mr Wicks said Harris had been unemployed for a long time and lived in B&B accommodation for the last 14 years. He said: "He has had an insular and low-achieving life. He is a man who sadly has little to show for himself."

Judge Richard Brown said: "This was a very serious and unpleasant attack on a young lady in a very public place. You pose a substantial risk to young women."

The judge said because Harris was a risk to women he would use special powers to give him an extended five-year-prison sentence. He also ordered Harris to sign the Sex Offenders' Register for the rest of his life.

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