Posted on Monday 21 August 2023
A high risk sex offender who sexually assaulted a woman in Durham City is due to be sentenced.
Kurtis Russell Mawson stood behind the tourist while she was taking pictures on Prebends Bridge just before 5pm on June 28.
The woman heard Mawson approach but did not turn around as she assumed he was also taking pictures of the cathedral but shortly after realised she had been sexually assaulted, leaving DNA evidence on her skirt.
The victim asked for help from others nearby who said they had seen a man in a brown hoodie running away.
The woman made her way to a shop where staff called the police and officers launched an investigation.
Several lines of enquiry were followed, including a media appeal released earlier this month, which resulted in a call from a member of the public who reported seeing a man matching the description of the suspect on the same bridge.
As officers made their way to the scene, an off-duty police officer apprehended the 21-year-old who was promptly arrested.
Despite denying the offence, Mawson was subsequently charged with sexual assault when DNA evidence from the victim’s skirt matched his.
Mawson, of High Street, Willington, appeared at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court on August 11 where he pleaded guilty to the offence and was remanded into custody.
He is due to be sentenced at Durham Crown Court on September 8.
PC Katie Warren, of Durham CID, said: “This was a traumatic incident for the victim whose visit to our city was understandably marred by Mawson’s despicable actions.
“Our officers worked tirelessly to apprehend Mawson and want to thank all those that gave us information from our appeal to help take such a dangerous offender off the streets.”
If you have suffered sexual abuse, please come forward and report it to us – either on 101, or in an emergency by calling 999.
If you don’t want to talk to the police, you can still access help through The Meadows Sexual Assault Referral Centre.
To contact The Meadows, call 0330 223 0099, or visit their website www.sarcdurham.co.uk