A CHESTER man has admitting stalking a woman as she walked home alone through Chester city centre before sexually touching her.

Gareth Steven Roberts, 31, of Church Street, pleaded guilty to the sexual assault on the woman, which happened by Hoole Bridge on the evening of November 29.

Chester Magistrates Court heard on Friday, January 17, the victim - who cannot be named - was affected by the incident so much she was now looking to move to a different part of the city.

Prosecuting, Alison Warburton said it was just after 5pm when the woman, walking home from work, first became aware of Roberts, who had "a scruffy appearance", in Frodsham Street.

As she approached the traffic crossing at the Mecca Bingo Roundabout, Roberts - who had been following her - smiled at her. She smiled back and continued to Brook Street.

As she walked along the street towards the junction with Hoole Bridge, the woman felt as though Roberts was very close behind her.

When the woman arrived at Hoole Bridge, she felt her rucksack being pulled and heard Roberts saying: "Let me take you out, let me take you for a drink."

Roberts sounded angry and he grabbed her on the right buttock.

The woman replied: "Leave me alone, stop following me," and shouted to try and scare him off.

She then reported the incident to the police and Roberts was positively identified following an identification parade.

When interviewed, Roberts said he had been in town drinking. He had drunk six or seven San Miguels before meeting a friend and they had some double Jack Daniels and coke.

He said he could not remember how he got home, was "paralytic" when going home and did not have any knowledge of the incident at all.

CCTV footage was played to him and he replied the image "sort of does, sort of doesn't" look like him.

After being positively identified in the ID parade, he replied he could not remember, but if the victim had picked him then he acknowledged he had done it.

The victim gave a comprehensive impact statement, read out to the court, where she said she rang her grandparents following the attack and they had never heard her cry so hard before.

She said she had been independent, but the defendant had taken that away from her, and had to have people accompany her home for the following couple of weeks after work, having to cancel so many plans.

She said she could not sleep properly for the following several weeks and could not get the image of what felt like "a predator" to her out of her head.

The first night out she had with friends following the attack, she burst into tears and had to have a friend accompany her home.

She said she was now looking to move away to a different part of the city.

She added, in a message to the defendant: "Even if you were drunk, that is no excuse. You stalked me for 15 minutes."

The woman added she had felt "dirty" for reporting the incident and her "skin crawled" upon recognising Roberts in the identification parade.

Roberts had 10 previous convictions for 21 offences, none of them for sexual offences, but did have ones for being violent.

Defending, John Farnan said a pre-sentence report should be obtained and full credit should be given to Roberts for entering a prompt guilty plea.

Magistrates ruled the case was too serious to be sentenced at their level and Roberts will instead be sentenced at Chester Crown Court on Friday, February 14.

He was bailed on the same condition as before, not to enter Chester city centre between 5pm-5am.