A DALGETY Bay man who smashed his way into a house in North Yorkshire and sexually assaulted a lone woman has been jailed for four years.

Gary Richardson, 46, of Letham Rise, drove 200 miles to Tadcaster before carrying out the attack, where he held the terrified victim at knifepoint.

And in an attempt to avoid capture, he drove dangerously and deliberately rammed a police car which was trying to intercept him as he tried to speed back to Scotland.

York Crown Court was told that, after injuring her slightly twice, he subjected the woman to two sexual assaults before fleeing north up the A1 towards his West Fife home.

Police alerted by a 999 call from Tadcaster spotted him near Gosforth, Newcastle.

Despite him ramming one of their cars, swerving across the carriageway and driving on the nearside verge and the grass of the central reservation in attempts to get past them, he was arrested.

He had a knife similar to a Stanley knife on him and cuts on his arms as though he had been self-harming as he drove north.

Richardson had never been in trouble with the police before.

His defence agent, Geoff Knowles, said his client had got in contact with the woman via Facebook and had been suffering from mild to moderate mental illness at the time.

When he had seen the police cars on the A1 he had panicked and had tried to get away so he could see his family again before he was arrested.

“These were totally out of character offences,” he added.

Richardson pleaded guilty to two sexual assaults and dangerous driving. He was jailed for four years and banned from driving for three years and five months.

He was also made subject to a restraining order banning him from contacting or going within a mile of the woman’s home, and put on the sex offenders’ register, both for life.

Prosector Nick Adlington said that, before the sex attacks last December, Police Scotland had spoken to Richardson about his online actions regarding the woman and she had warned him “in the clearest possible terms” not to travel from Dalgety Bay to visit her.

But on December 15, he left a family event and drove to Tadcaster, arriving at between 9.30pm and 10.30pm.

The woman was watching television when she heard a noise, investigated, and saw him smash the kitchen window.

She tried to escape through the conservatory, but he grabbed her and pulled her back, bruising her as he did so.

In a personal statement, the woman said she was now paranoid when alone in her home and was taking medication to help her sleep.

Mr Knowles handed in a psychiatric report and a letter from Richardson’s wife saying he had never been violent towards her.

His marriage had been in difficulties leading up to the sex offences and it was now over, the court heard.

He had also shown a “degree of remorse and regret”.