A 25-year-old man has today (September 17) been convicted of attempted murder after he strangled a woman in Northampton in 2020.
At about 9pm on June 8, 2020, a 22-year-old woman entered Sainsbury’s in Wellingborough Road to pick up some food.
She paid for her items and left, however, as she passed Tesco Express on her way home, she realised she had forgotten something and entered the store.
What she was unaware of at the time was that Sean Shortland had got off a bus and was standing outside. He was waiting for her.
She left Tesco and proceeded to walk up Artizan Road and it was at this point that she felt someone was following her.
It was Shortland.
Before she could do anything he grabbed her from behind, covered her mouth and pulled her to the ground. He then got on top of her, put his hands around her throat and proceeded to strangle her.
Thankfully, members of the public came to her aid and Shortland ran away.
An investigation into the incident was quickly launched, led by DC Howes from Northampton CID, and after a number of enquiries, Shortland was arrested and charged.
The attack was later proven to be completely random with neither Shortland nor the woman having met before.
At Northampton Crown Court today he was rightly found guilty and will be sentenced at Northampton Crown Court on November 5, 2021.
DC Howes, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Sean Shortland has been found guilty of attempted murder and will now be spending a long time in prison as a result.
“This case has meant so much to me and to get the right result for this woman after 18 months is a huge achievement. She has been so brave – taking to the stand at court, facing Sean Shortland, and supporting our investigation throughout. Because of her, a very dangerous and depraved man will now be spending a long time looking at the four walls of a prison cell.
“I am hugely proud of her and I hope she also feels proud of herself for the courage she has shown. I also hope today’s result allows her some sense of closure so she can begin to move forward with her life.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the public who intervened at the time of this incident – their help has been invaluable.
“Walking alone without fear is a right every woman should have and every woman should be able to walk home safely.
"This is something I believe in passionately and I hope convictions like this send a message to offenders like Sean Shortland – you do not belong on our streets and we will do everything we can to make sure you are locked up.”
Detective Inspector Simon Barnes, said: “To get an attempted murder conviction is a huge achievement and I would like to take this opportunity to commend DC Howes for the her incredible investigation, her hard work, and the care she has shown throughout this case.
“From sourcing counselling for this brave young woman to making sure she was cared for, updated and continuously believed in the police’s ability to get justice, DC Howes’ work has been of the highest quality.
"I am so pleased for her and for our victim who courageously faced Sean Shortland in the dock - I cannot imagine how difficult that must have been for her. But because she did, she is now responsible for him being unable to hurt anyone else.
“This was a real team effort from the beginning. But for the actions and quick thinking of PC Vjestica taking forensic samples from the victim and PC Georgia Sees getting the first statement and supporting the victim on the night, this outcome would not have been possible.
"It has been a long and meticulous investigation further supported by the Case Builder Kate Williams and Police Staff Investigator Alex Ingram, whom I am incredibly proud of.”