'Depraved' man, 25, tried to kill random shopper by strangling her outside supermarket

Sean Shortland has been convicted of attempted murder. (Northamptonshire Police)

A man who strangled a woman in a random attack after she left a supermarket has been found guilty of attempted murder.

Sean Shortland, 25, waited for his victim, then 22, to come out of a Tesco Express in Northampton before attacking her.

He grabbed her from behind, covered her mouth and pulled her to the ground, Northamptonshire Police said.

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He then got on top of her, put his hands around her throat and started to strangle her.

Shortland ran away when members of the public saw what was happened and came to the woman’s rescue.

Police described Shortland as a “very dangerous and depraved man”. The force praised the victim for her bravery for taking to the stand and facing Shortland in court.

Neither Shortland, from Valley Road in Northampton, nor the victim had met before the attack, police said.

At about 9pm on 8 June, 2020, the woman had gone into a Sainsbury’s supermarket on Wellingborough Road to buy some food.

Sean Shortland attacked his victim on Artizan Road in Northampton in June 2020. (Google)

When she was later passing Tesco Express on her way home, she realised she had forgotten to buy something and went into the store.

At that time, Shortland had got off a bus and was standing outside, waiting for her.

He launched his attack as she was walking up Artizan Road.

Shortland was found guilty of attempted murder last Friday at Northampton Crown Court. He will be sentenced on 5 November.

The police investigation was led by DC Howes from Northampton CID, who 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.

Sean Shortland will be sentenced in November. (Northamptonshire Police)

“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.

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“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.”

He praised the victim, saying she “courageously faced Sean Shortland in the dock”.

He added: “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.”

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