Former pastor Stephen Jay jailed for late-night assault in Brighton

Man handed two-year prison sentence for assaulting woman on street at night

The man attacked a woman on the street at night (Stock image)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A former pastor has been sentenced to two years in prison for attacking a woman who was walking home in Brighton at night.

Self-employed Stephen Jay was sentenced at Hove Crown Court today (August 29) for causing actual bodily harm to a 26-year-old woman last year.

The woman had noticed that she was seemingly being followed, as Jay was hiding behind cars. She asked him what he was doing and crossed the road, but Jay followed and hit her several times in the face, according to Sussex Police.

A witness claimed that they saw the man with one hand around the woman’s throat and the other over her mouth as she lay on the ground.

As nearby residents came to help, they picked up her bag and items that had fallen to the ground in the scuffle. When the woman looked in her bag days later she found a cap which was not hers, and DNA found on the cap matched Jay's.

Detective inspector Mick Jones said that Jay previously worked as a town pastor helping vulnerable people but this incident has shown him as a "wolf in sheep’s clothing​."

The man was first convicted of the attack in May, however the case resulted in a hung jury over whether the incident also included intent to commit a sexual act. A second jury also failed to reach a verdict on the sexual element of the case in July.

At the first trial Jay was also found not guilty of actual bodily harm and sexual assaulting a 21-year-old woman.