A MAN dressed in a Superman onesie who repeatedly peered through the hospital bedside curtains surrounding a 14-year-old girl had been searching on the internet for “sleep assault,” a jury heard.
And Leon Ridgeway also allegedly went into her Wigan Infirmary cubicle and lifted the blanket covering her stomach, believing she was asleep, but when she opened her eyes he left.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that when Ridgeway’s mobile phone was later further analysed it was found to contain photographs he had allegedly taken of another 15-year-old sleeping girl. after moving her underwear.
The 29-year-old of Glebe Street, Leigh, is on trial denying attempting to sexually assault the hospital patient, sexually assaulting the other girl and two offences of taking indecent photographs.
Sarah Holt, prosecuting, said that the 14-year-old was admitted to the children’s ward at the Wigan Infirmary for treatment for an eating disorder. In another bed in the same bay was Ridgeway’s one-year-old step-daughter and during the evening on May 1 the teenager saw a man repeatedly walking past her drawn curtains and looking in but whenever he was seen he had been noticed he went away, she claimed.
“He subsequently entered her cubicle area, approached her and lifted the blanket up about her stomach area. She opened her eyes and again realising she was awake he left the cubicle.”
Miss Holt said that Ridgeway was the only man staying overnight in that bay that night.
The frightened girl sent a Facebook message to a friend for help and when she replied at 6.30am she said she did not want to tell a nurse in case he heard so her friend suggested she write a note.
She did this on a paper towel and handed it to a nurse who knew who she meant as Ridgeway had been aware of him walking around between 10.30pm and 5 am that night. The two children were moved to separate bays and the social services and the police were notified, said Miss Holt.
When interviewed, Ridgeway denied entering her cubicle and trying to lift the blanket up and claimed he did not even know anyone was in the bed.
His mobile phone was seized and it was found that on eight separate occasions he had searched on the internet for “sleep assault” and “sister sleep assault.” It was also found to have four photographs on it of a 15-year-old girl in which she was asleep and her underwear had been moved to expose her bra and her pubic area.
When re-interviewed Ridgeway, admitted that the man wearing a Superman onesie shown in the hospital CCTV footage outside the bay was him.
He claimed someone else must have been responsible for the photographs on his phone, which was used by others.
“He said he had never seen the indecent photographs before and thought they were an absolute disgrace.”
Ridgeway also admitted accessing porn sites but said he had never heard of ‘sleep assault.’ He said he could not remember searching for it but “must have done it.”