A teenager launched a series of terrifying attacks on women. Joshua Lovering from Cwmbran told one of his three victims: “We’re going to have sex if you want it or not.”
Cardiff Crown Court heard that Joshua Lovering was 19 when he targeted an 18-year-old woman after she had drunk five to six pints of cider in Pontypool park. He made arrangements to spend the night with her at the Gateway Hotel in Newport. Prosecutor Ruth Smith said that when Lovering went to the shops, he asked if he should buy condoms, but the victim replied: “No.” When he returned, Lovering became “rough and physical” and pushed the victim onto the bed and tried to put his hand up her top.
When the victim told him to stop, Lovering became annoyed and put his hand to her mouth and a pillow over her face. She screamed for help and managed to run away, but he put his hand under her top again and snapped her bra. She tried to leave the room but he stood in front of her, grabbing her.
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Lovering produced a knife and held it to the victim’s chin, warning: “If you don’t [stop] f****** screaming I am going to use it. We’re going to have sex if you want it or not.” The victim told Lovering she wanted to have a cigarette, so he allowed her to go outside but continually texted her. She managed to run to a nearby petrol station and the police were called. Lovering was arrested and told police he had a knife because he was “fascinating with sharp things”.
In her personal statement this victim said: “The incident has hurt me and betrayed me. He did an awful thing to me. How can I trust people the same way I did before the incident?”
In a second attack Lovering entered a woman’s home without permission and pushed her onto her sofa. He then tried to pull her leggings off but the victim was able to bite him, scratch his face and kick him. The defendant penetrated her with his thumb through her leggings.
The victim struggled with the defendant and made a call via the phone app Siri to get help. He managed to rip the phone from her and tried to rip her clothes off, causing her to fall over and suffer bruises. It was only when the victim managed to pick up a glass jar and threaten Lovering with it that he left.
Lovering attacked a third woman at a Travelodge hotel in Cardiff city centre. The court heard he locked the “extremely vulnerable” woman in a hotel room and demanded she had sex with him. He used his strength to take her phone and threatened her with a knife in a 20-minute ordeal which left her crying and shaking with fear.
In her statement this victim said: “Since this incident happened I have been panicky and stressed. When he held a knife up to me and locked me in the room I honestly thought he was going to put the knife through me and seriously hurt me, I was scared for my life.
“He was much bigger and stronger than me. He stood in front of the hotel room door for five minutes but it felt like forever. I was scared to call out for help in case he suddenly used the knife on me.”
The victim said she has been suffering nightmares and on one occasion punched a wall while dreaming that she was fighting the defendant off. She added: “He’s a dangerous person and a danger to women. I have never been so scared of anybody in my life as Joshua.”
Lovering, now 20, pleaded guilty to assault by penetration, affray, sexual assault, and threatening a person with a knife in a private place. The defendant, of HMP Parc in Bridgend, has previous convictions including sexual assault and possession of a knife in a public place. His latest offences put him in breach of a suspended sentence order.
In mitigation, defence barrister Jefffey Jones said his client was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and has low social skills. He conceded the defendant faced “serious matters” but he feels remorse and is “clearly a vulnerable person.”
Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke took into account Lovering’s disorder and his youth but said she was satisfied he was a dangerous offender and posed a risk of serious harm. She imposed an extended sentence of 12 years in custody and an extended licence period of four years. He must serve at least two thirds of the custodial period before he can be considered for release. The judge also imposed restraining orders to protect the three victims and a 16-year sexual harm prevention order.
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