A MAN has been sent to prison for nine years after being convicted of raping a young woman he had approached in a Bognor Regis street.
Lee Matthews, 29, unemployed, of Richmond Avenue, was sentenced at Chichester Crown Court today (Wednesday, January 7) having been convicted after a seven-day trial the previous month.
He will also be a registered sex offender for life and will also be on licence for a further six years after his release.
The court heard the lone woman in her mid-twenties was walking along Canada Grove during the early hours of July 5 of last year, when Matthews, who was not known to her, offered to walk her home. He told her there was a party at a house by the tennis courts near Norfolk Square and invited her along. As they walked down a service road to the tennis courts, he pulled her to ground and raped her.
The victim reported the incident to a friend and later that morning they contacted the police who immediately began an investigation.
Matthews was arrested within a few days.
Detective Constable David Midgley said “This case is particularly nasty in that Matthews obtained the victim’s trust by offering to walk her home. He then took advantage of this trust by luring her to a service road under the pretence there was a party there.
“However the victim contacted us on the same day and specially trained officers assisted her. This led us securing the early evidence which led to Matthews being arrested and ultimately convicted.
“The criminal justice system will always to try to protect the victim and we continue to encourage anyone who has been victim of a sexual offence to contact us right away.
“In this case the early reporting was a crucial factor in helping us gather the evidence which has now sent Matthews to prison.
“The public also need to be clear that all victims of sexual offences are granted anonymity for life, so that it is a criminal offence for anyone to publish their names or any other information that would identify them, on Twitter, Facebook or anywhere else.”