A CHESTER man arrived at a woman's house to give her a lift, but then sexually assaulted her.

Michael Szyc, 29, of The Hill, Aldford, pleaded guilty on the day his trial was due to begin at Chester Crown Court to two sex attack charges.

At the same court on Monday, February 10, he was jailed for three years.

Prosecuting, Myles Wilson said Szyc knew the defendant.

On the morning of February 26, 2019, Szyc had sent the victim numerous messages on Facebook asking if she was asleep and if she needed a lift, but she was not responding.

Szyc was sending similar messages to two other women he knew that night, again with no reply.

When the victim woke up, she did reply and agreed to the offer of a lift.

But when Szyc turned up at her home, during a chat he asked her if she had a boyfriend and when was the last time she had had sex.

The victim pretended she had a boyfriend and was feeling uncomfortable, and then Szyc asked her if he could kiss her.

She said no, that would not be fair, knowing that Szyc was married and had children.

But Szyc kept asking her before grabbing hold of her, kissing her neck and touching her bottom.

The victim pushed Szyc away and began to make a cup of coffee for them as a distraction.

But Szyc then pulled down his shorts, exposing himself, and sexually assaulted her.

He also undid the victim's jeans and pulled them and her knickers down before committing a second sex attack, despite her telling him to stop.

She kicked him away and went upstairs to compose herself.

Szyc then told her not to tell anyone what had happened.

The victim reported the sex attacks to her boss at work and police were called.

When police arrived at Szyc's home, they did not find him but a note, addressed to his family, which read: "I only ask you to forgive me."

Police arrested him later that day at a friend's house in Ellesmere Port.

He claimed he had only given her a friendly hug and kiss – but DNA evidence showed otherwise.

An impact statement by the victim was read out in court, which explained she had been left with bruising to her leg following the incident and had psychologically affected her.

She had been left feeling very down and had seen a counsellor. She could not control her emotions, and at times would feel very angry which would be out of character for her.

She felt paranoid and prone to bouts of anxiety, and could not feel like she could do anything by herself any more, including going to the shop.

She added at work she had become withdrawn and distant from her colleagues.

Szyc had no previous convictions either in the UK or in his native Poland.

Defending, Nicholas Williams said Szyc had never been in trouble before and this was very out of character for him.

He had come to the UK to improve his life prospects for himself and his family.

He had lost his job as a result but had found replacement work as a delivery driver for Yodel, which had working hours more suited to him spending more time with his family.

His wife, who had had a recent health scare, had chosen to stand by him.

Szyc needed rehabilitation work to address his emotional state and mental health issues, and Mr Williams suggested if the proposed prison sentence could be suspended so Szyc could work on those issues with a community order.

But Judge Patrick Thompson ruled only an immediate custodial term was appropriate.

He told Szyc: "I have come to the conclusion that you had sex on your mind that morning and you were keen to find yourself alone with a female.

"It was, in my judgment, a very serious sexual assault.

"En route to work you told her not to tell anyone. This was a determined course of action by you.

"You pleaded guilty at the very last minute. You have spared your victim, at least, the indignity of having to come to court to relive the ordeal.

"I have sympathy for your wife and family but less sympathy for you, and I have more sympathy for the victim...feeling paranoid and scared, and that will have a significant lasting effect on her life."

After Szyc was sent to prison, Judge Thompson paid tribute to the victim, who was present in court for the sentencing, for her bravery in reporting the sex attacks, and hoped the sentence would bring some closure in her life and allow her to move forward.