AN ILLEGAL immigrant has been jailed for four years after trying to rape a 14-year-old girl in a Huddersfield cemetery.
Judge Roger Scott told Jamaican O'Neill Clarke, 29, that the only reason the shocking lunchtime attack had not ended in a rape was the struggle put up by the girl.
The Huddersfield girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had been walking to a friend's house in July last year when she bumped into Clarke.
Prosecutor Simon Batiste told Bradford Crown Court that Clarke started talking to the girl and suggested they walk to Birkby.
After about 20 minutes they reached Edgerton Cemetery and Clarke asked the girl if she wanted to go to Leeds to do some shopping or have a drink.
Mr Batiste added: "She felt that he might not know her age so she told him she was only 14."
He said that as they got to the gatehouse while leaving the cemetery, Clarke grabbed the girl's wrist and pulled her into the gatehouse's garden area.
Clarke, who had no previous convictions, put his hand inside the girl's knickers and under her bra, then said he wanted to have sex with her.
Mr Batiste said the girl later described how there had been a "see-saw battle", with Clarke pulling her trousers down and her pulling them back up.
Clarke again said he wanted to have sex with her, but the girl repeated that she was only 14.
Mr Batiste said Clarke rubbed his penis against the girl, but failed to have sex with her.
Clarke, who came into the country in November, 2001, then ran away. He was not arrested until four months later, when he was in Wolverhampton.
The girl went to a friend's house after the attack and was described as "distraught and sobbing uncontrollably".
Clarke, of Brook Buildings, Marsh, made no reply during police interviews, but the girl identified him at a video identification procedure.
Mr Batiste said semen recovered from the girl's clothing matched Clarke's DNA.
Clarke pleaded guilty last month to the charge of attempted rape.
His barrister, Stephen Wood, said his client should receive credit for the early plea of guilty. This meant the girl would not have to give evidence.
He said Clarke had been served with deportation papers and would be sent to Jamaica after release from prison.
Judge Scott said that because of Clarke's early guilty plea he was reducing what would have been a six-year jail term.
He ordered Clarke to register as a sex offender with the police for the rest of his life. But that will only apply if he remains in Britain.