Man spiked teenager's drink in nightclub before filming himself sexually assault her

22 October 2021, 19:19

Howarth has been jailed for seven years
Howarth has been jailed for seven years. Picture: GMP

By Will Taylor

A man who spiked a woman's drink before filming himself sexually assaulting her has been jailed.

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Sean Howarth used cocaine to spike the 19-year-old’s drink while she was in a nightclub in Manchester city centre before luring her away and taking her to a hotel.

The 31-year-old also emptied her bank account while she was unconscious, with Greater Manchester Police detectives calling his crimes "the premeditated violation of a young woman".

Howarth, who lived in Huddersfield but is originally from Rochdale, was jailed for seven years and two months at Minshull Street Crown Court and will be on the sex offenders register for life.

He had previously pleaded guilty to administering a substance with intent to commit a sexual offence, sexual assault, offering to supply a class A drug, theft and fraud.

The sentencing comes amid nationwide concern at spiking in nightclubs, with some reporting of people using injections on victims.

Read more: Police probe suspected needle spiking attacks - with dozens reported in one area

Read more: Student shares harrowing experience of being 'spiked' with injection

Greater Manchester Police said he went to the nightclub in February 2019 and joined a group of women, making unwanted advances at one of them and offering cocaine to her friends.

He then spiked a woman's drink with cocaine and she became unwell and incoherent. Howarth lured her away and took her to his room at the Royal Toby Hotel in Rochdale.

He told staff the woman was his sister and that she just needed to sleep off the drink, then carried her while she was unconscious.

In his room, Howarth recorded himself pulling the lower clothing off his still-unconscious victim and then sexually assaulting her.

He also used her thumbprint to get on her mobile and he transferred all the money from her bank to his account and photographed her personal details, including emails, passwords and social media accounts.

When she woke up in the morning, she had no idea where she was or how she got there.

Howarth claimed she had given her phone to her friend on the night out but he had actually sold it to a second-hand shop.

Detective Constable Russell Clarke, of Rochdale CID, said Howarth "spun a web of lies" and changed his story a number of times.

"The circumstances of this case are truly shocking and involved the premeditated violation of a young woman," he said.

"Howarth gave her no consideration as he exploited her in order to satisfy his own sexual and financial greed."