Bournemouth Lower Gardens rapist jailed over 'terrifying' attack

Luke WestImage source, Dorset Police
Image caption,
Luke West subjected his victim to a "brutal physical assault", police said

A man who beat and raped a woman who was walking to work through a town centre gardens has been jailed for 16 years.

The victim, aged in her 40s, was attacked in Bournemouth's Lower Gardens in November.

She was left "naked, badly injured and semi-conscious", Winchester Crown Court heard.

Luke West, 29, of Southampton, was convicted by a jury of rape and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

He attacked his victim at about 05:40 GMT on 13 November, grabbing her from behind and placing his hand over her mouth, the court heard.

Image source, Google
Image caption,
The victim was walking through Bournemouth's Lower Gardens when she was attacked

Robert Bryan, prosecuting, said: "He got her to the ground and began rolling her towards the water.

"All the time she thought he wanted to kill her as there were times she couldn't breathe. He started hitting her face with his fists."

The prosecutor said the woman suffered a fractured eye socket and other facial injuries.

Police said they identified West as a suspect from CCTV and arrested him the following day when officers spotted him in Commercial Road.

'Despicable offence'

The victim's blood was found on clothing in his hotel room and his DNA was found in samples taken from the victim, the court heard.

Det Insp Wayne Seymour 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."

Judge Keith Cutler imposed an additional six-year sentence to be spent on licence after West's release from custody.

He ordered that a third charge of possessing an extreme pornographic image should lie on file.

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