"Red-eyed menace" who stalked women in Harrogate town centre behind bars

A “red-eyed menace” who terrorised women in Harrogate town centre has been jailed for nearly three years.

Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 3:30 pm
Dominic Milo Rios, 19, has been jailed for almost three years.

Appeal launched after man arrested near Harrogate Valley Gardens - here's everything we know so farDominic Milo Rios, 19, sexually assaulted two women and threatened to kill others as he walked through Harrogate town centre one night last summer, York Crown Court heard.

His spree began when he approached a young woman walking past Asda in Bower Street, said prosecutor Stephanie Hancock.

Rios blocked her path and told the 22-year-old woman: “I’m going to kill you. There’s no cameras here; there’s nothing you can do about it.”

The woman - who was named in court - “froze in fear, terrified that he would seriously hurt her”. Rios told her: “If you call the police, I’ll kill you.”

A female passer-by saw the woman crying and called police, at which point Rios - clearly high on drink and drugs - walked off towards Station Parade.

Rios marched on to Oxford Street where he set upon his next target - a woman walking her dog.

Rios walked up to her so they were “nose to nose”, staring at her with “bright red eyes”.

“(The woman) said he spoke clearly but menacingly,” added Ms Hancock. “He calmly told her, ‘I’m going to kill you - look into my eyes’.

“She quietly asked him to leave her alone and tried to back away from him.”

Rios then “bent down to her dog and said he was going to kill the dog”.

He finally left and turned his attention to a theatre elsewhere in town.

“The defendant tried to get in through the theatre door but a female member of the theatre told him it was closed and he couldn’t come in,” said Ms Hancock. “He was immediately aggressive towards her and pushed his way through, wedging his body in the door.”

The woman told other members of the theatre to “stay upstairs” as Rios screamed at them to “get back downstairs”.

Council bosses considered shutting Welcome to Yorkshire, new chair confirmsHe then sexually assaulted her and told her: “There’s nothing you can do about it.”

She finally managed to push him off her as he tried to assault her again and he “staggered” away.

He next appeared at McDonald’s where he was “goading and threatening” customers and other members of the public as they walked past the fast-food outlet. One customer reported the matter to the McDonald’s shift manager who asked Rios to go outside. Rios’s response was to “clench his fists” and say, ‘Do you want me to smack you?’

He then turned his attention to a 15-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted as she was about to go into the restaurant with friends.

“She managed to push the defendant off her and (the shift manager) managed to close the door to McDonald’s,” said Ms Hancock. One of the girl’s friends was stranded outside with Rios and was physically assaulted as she tried to get into the restaurant.

A police officer arrived and told Rios to get to his knees, but he ran off down Oxford Street. The officer caught up with him but was slapped in the face “at least once” as he tried to arrest him. Rios was finally cuffed with the help of two off-duty officers.

Rios - who is said to have “severe” mental-health problems, possibly drug-induced schizophrenia - told officers he had had a “psychotic episode” and couldn’t remember any of the incidents.

Rios was remanded in custody following his arrest after he breached his bail conditions. He appeared for sentence via video after admitting two counts of sexual assault, two counts of common assault, two counts of threatening behavior and assaulting an emergency worker.

The court heard that the offences occurred in rapid succession on the same night in June this year - just a few weeks after Rios, of no fixed abode, had been given a community order for assaulting a police officer and criminal damage. Defence barrister Peter Minnikin said Rios, who was under the care of doctors and mental-health workers, had a “long history of psychiatric admissions to hospital”.

Jailing Rios for 32 months, judge Simon Hickey branded his offences “disgusting, revolting and frightening” which had left at least one of the victims with “life-changing” consequences and a “severe psychological effect”.

Teenage drug dealer was addicted to cannabis aged 13

Rios was placed on the sex-offenders’ register for 10 years and made subject to orders which prevents him contacting or approaching the victims.