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Grand Theft Auto obsession could lead to jail

Maidstone Crown Court

Maidstone Crown Court

A teenager obsessed with prostitutes launched a series of terrifying attacks on women at night after spending hours playing a controversial computer game, a court has heard.

Ryan Chinnery often played Grand Theft Auto, the popular video game in which a man drives around in a car and attacks “sex workers”.

He would then go out on the prowl looking for victims.

But none of those he attacked were prostitutes, just innocent women walking home.

Now, the 19-year-old youth could be locked up indefinitely for public protection.

He had denied three sexual assault charges but changed his plea to guilty to one of them halfway through his trial at Maidstone Crown Court.

The prosecution agreed to leave the remaining two charges on the court file.

The jury was then told that Chinnery, of Christopher Bushell Way, Kennington, had previously admitted a charge of assault by penetration on another woman.

Outlining the facts of that case, Eleanor Laws, prosecuting, said as in the other assaults, Chinnery went out in his car near his then home in the early hours of August 27 last year.

He parked near a dual carriageway and seized his middle-aged victim around the throat as she walked home from a friend’s house at 2am.

Chinnery sexually assaulted her before running off.

Police were able to get Chinnery’s DNA from the woman and he was arrested two days later.

He was then linked to other attacks.

In accepting Chinnery’s guilty plea to one of the three assaults, Judge Philip Statman said he had “sufficient powers of punishment”.

Adjourning sentence for probation and psychiatric reports until October 22, he added: “Bearing in mind his age and gravity of the matter, I have got to consider imprisonment for public protection.”

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