Luke Alan West, aged 29 and of Durley Chine Road in Bournemouth, was convicted of rape and inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent. His sentence was passed at Winchester Crown Court on 16 June, following an 11-day trial.
West’s victim, a Bournemouth woman aged in her 40s, was walking through Lower Gardens on her way to work at around 5.40am on 13 November 2019 when he approached her from behind. West grabbed her around the neck and proceeded to physically assault her and rape her.
The victim was found by members of the public at around 6.10am with significant facial injuries and taken to hospital for treatment. She sustained significant bruising to her face, neck, chest and arms as a result of the attack as well as a fracture to her eye socket. While in hospital she reported that she had been raped by an unknown man in the gardens.
A major investigation was launched by Dorset Police, which included an extensive trawl of CCTV footage from the area. Through these enquiries a suspect was identified from the CCTV, who was seen near to the area just before the incident and then caught on another camera running away from the scene shortly afterwards.
Officers stopped a man matching the description of the suspect in Commercial Road on the night of 14 November. He initially gave a false name but was subsequently arrested and confirmed to be West.
Detectives also obtained DNA evidence linking West to the offence and he was charged with rape on 16 November 2019.
Detective Inspector Wayne Seymour, of Dorset Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team (MCIT), said, “This was a despicable offence, which saw Luke West subject his victim not only to a terrifying sexual attack but also a brutal physical assault.
“While it can be of little consolation to the victim in this case, thankfully incidents of this nature are extremely rare in this area and I am grateful to all the officers and police staff who worked tirelessly on this investigation so that we were able to swiftly identify West as the suspect and apprehend him.
“Finally, I would like to praise the victim for the incredible bravery she has shown in supporting the investigation. She has been through a truly horrific ordeal and for her to have shown the courage to give evidence at trial and help bring this dangerous offender to justice, I hope will inspire others who have been subjected to such terrible offences and help give them the strength to come forward.”
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