A victim of sexual assault has praised the actions of two strangers who came to her rescue after a late-night hotel room attack.
Joshua White and Joseph Gray, who were visiting Newcastle from London, were staying in a hotel in Dunston in October last year (2018).
They both happened to be in the hotel room next to the victim who was being sexually assaulted by the now-convicted sex offender, Pearse Shaun Armstrong.
Armstrong, 40, of no fixed abode but from the Belfast area of Northern Ireland, had met the victim at the hotel front entrance after a night out in Newcastle.
Armstrong followed her and a friend to their hotel room and entered the room despite not being invited in by the two girls.
When the victim’s friend ran for help to remove Armstrong from the room, he took his chance and began to assault the victim sexually.
As the victim shouted out in fear, the two vigilant neighbours came to the door.
The friend of the victim asked the two for their help, and they immediately sprung into action.
When Joshua and Joseph entered the room of the victim, they saw Armstrong without his top on and with his trousers round his ankles.
The victim managed to escape from Armstrong and ran out in a highly distressed state.
Both men managed to get Armstrong out of the room and took the victim to the reception of the hotel.
Police were called, and within minutes, Armstrong was arrested at the hotel.
The two men, who did not know the victim, also travelled from London to give evidence at a three-day trial at Newcastle Crown Court.
By giving evidence, they supported the victim and Armstrong was found guilty of sexual assault by a jury.
The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, praised the two men and asked the officers involved in the case if she could be put in touch with them after the guilty verdict to thank them personally.
The victim said:
“I want to thank Joshua and Joseph for helping me that night. I can’t ever thank them enough.
“If they had not intervened I feared things could have been a lot worse. I owe them everything.
“This has been the worst experience of my life, and although he has been found guilty, it doesn’t take away the impact of what he has done.
“If it wasn’t for the two guys I’m not sure what Armstrong would have done. It makes me feel sick to think. I just want to say – Joshua, Joseph – thank you. Thank you for taking a risk that night. Thank you for saving me.”
Detective Constable Simon Dobson who led the investigation, said:
“These two men and the victim’s friend have helped protect someone who was unable to protect herself from a forceful man who was sexually assaulting her.
“Thankfully, they were there that night.
“They’ve witnessed an awful incident, and while of course, the victim has suffered hugely through this ordeal, all three witnesses have also had to experience something that you don’t expect to see on a nice weekend trip.
“If it wasn’t for Joshua and Joseph, and the victim’s friend, I wouldn’t like to think what could have happened, but I would like to say how thankful I am to them for their actions and all they have done to support the investigation.”
If you have been a victim of rape or sexual assault, whether this is recent or historical, please come forward and contact police on 101, or 999 in an emergency.
To contact the 24/7 Crisis Helpline contact 0333 3448283 or find out more about our Sexual Assault Referral Centre by searching REACH SARC online.