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Man jailed for attempted rape of homeless woman in shop doorway

PUBLISHED: 16:38 09 September 2019 | UPDATED: 08:33 10 September 2019

Ernest Roylance. Picture: Norfolk Police

Ernest Roylance. Picture: Norfolk Police

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A homeless woman was left "horrified" after a man also living on the streets attempted to rape her in a shop doorway, a court has heard.

Ernest Roylance, 54, was sleeping rough on the streets of Great Yarmouth, along with the victim, at the time of the attempted rape on June 27.

Richard Kelly, prosecuting at Norwich Crown Court, heard a member of the public who had been walking his dog at about 11pm, heard a woman "screaming" from a nearby shop doorway.

The court heard that as the couple got up from the doorway it was clear they were in a state of undress.

Mr Kelly said they moved to a second doorway where she could be heard screaming "No, go away, don't do it."

The victim pushed Roylance away but he pinned her down by holding her arms and tried to rape her.

The offence was also picked up on CCTV and police were called and arrested the offender.

He told officers he had drunk two bottles of rum, four or five cans of lager and a couple of pints of Fosters, and could not remember what happened.

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The victim, although intoxicated at the time, told officers that what happened had an "unbelievable" impact on her and she was horrified.

Roylance, of no fixed abode, had previously admitted attempted rape.

He appeared at court in custody on Monday (September 9) to be sentenced.

Isobel Ascherson, mitigating, said Roylance, who has 29 previous convictions for 74 offences, had a "serious alcohol issue".

She said Roylance does not remember but put his hands up following the evidence against him and accepts he must have done it.

Judge Andrew Shaw said the offence was so serious that only an immediate custodial sentence could be imposed.

Roylance was jailed for a total of five years and three months.

As previously reported Roylance was circulated as wanted by Norfolk police in January, this year after he was found to be in breach of the terms of his licence.

Roylance, who also goes by the name of Ernie, has bird tattoos on his neck and hands and also wears a nose ring.

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