AN ACCRINGTON man has admitted the attempted rape and assault of an 88-year-old woman.
Wayne Michael Oxley, 37, of Burnley Road, Accrington, held his head in his hands as he pleaded guilty to the offences at Burnley Crown Court on Wednesday.
He denied raping the victim and that plea was accepted by the prosecution.
The crime, which shocked the town, took place on 26 August this year at the woman’s home in the Woodnook area of Accrington.
Judge Andrew Woolman remanded him in custody for sentencing in the week beginning 23 February 2009 and requested psychiatric reports to be prepared to assess his "dangerousness".
Oxley, who arrived at court with two prison guards, was dressed in a dirty white T-shirt and spoke only to give his plea.
Police launched a major manhunt after the distraught pensioner, who lives alone, contacted her son at 12.30am to tell him that a man had entered her flat and attempted to rape her.
The woman strongly resisted and Oxley then physically assaulted her before running away from the scene.
His victim was left with bruising and a bloodied nose after the attack.
A joint operation involving the force’s Major Investigation Team and Accrington CID resulted in Oxley being arrested in Accrington town centre on 30 August.
Senior investigating officer, Detective Superintendent Neil Hunter, said after the hearing: "This was a nasty, unprovoked attack on a vulnerable and defenceless old lady.
"Specially-trained officers have worked with the victim right through this case and she has shown exceptional bravery and dignity throughout.
"Today’s plea is a tribute to her courage and determination.
"She has been through a traumatic and distressing incident that is unimaginable.
"Oxley is a sad and wicked individual who is a danger to women.
"The people of Accrington can now be reassured that he is behind bars and off our streets.
"I would also like to pay tribute to the forensic science work undertaken, which was a major focus of the investigation and has ultimately led to his guilty plea."