A VIOLENT mugger has been jailed for threatening to rape a lone woman in a park before stealing her belongings.

Benjamin Grossman left the young victim terrified after he grabbed her from behind in Torre Abbey Meadows in Torquay and threw her to the ground.

He told her he would rape her unless she handed over her wallet, brand new iPhone and Apple watch. She thought she was going to be murdered and is still suffering post traumatic flashbacks six months later.

Grossman hid in a shelter next to the park and attacked the woman as she walked home from a night club at 3.45 am on Sunday October 30 after spending a night out with friends in Torquay.

She suffered serious bruising and her victim impact statement made clear that the psychological damage was much greater. She now sleeps with the lights on and is too scared to go out at night on her own.

Grossman sold her phone and watch for a total of just £60 to strangers he approached in the street and spent the money on heroin which police found in a syringe when he was arrested at 11.45 pm that night.

The 37-year-old homeless drifter admitted robbery and was jailed for six year and eight months with a four year extended licence by Judge Stephen Climie at Exeter Crown Court.

He told him: “The streets were deserted and when she was grabbed from behind, understandably and unquestionably she feared for her life. You demanded her possessions and threatened to rape her if she did not comply.

“The psychological harm to her is ongoing and devastating. The threat to that young woman late at night in an isolated environment made this a particularly terrifying offence.”

Mr Edward Bailey, prosecuting, said the victim, who is in her early 20s, was attacked as she passed a shelter where Grossman had been standing. He grabbed, threw her to the ground, and robbed her.

He tried to sell her phone and watch in shops later that morning but they refused and he was seen on CCTV approaching a stranger at a cashpoint and selling the watch. He had 4.42 mg of heroin in a syringe when he was arrested in Market Street, Torquay at 11.25 pm.

Mr Martin Salloway, defending, said Grossman suffered an abusive childhood which led him into drug addiction in later life. He is now addressing his drug issues in custody.