Maidstone: Journalist Jailed For Rape

A former national newspaper journalist who helped uncover the Parliamentary expenses scandal has been jailed for seven years for raping a woman.

Ben Leapman, 44, an ex-deputy news editor of the Sunday Telegraph, was found guilty of one count of rape and cleared of two other counts.

The Cambridge-educated journalist was charged with the sex offences after a woman disclosed to a friend that he had raped her.

Following his conviction at trial, he was jailed at Maidstone Crown Court today and made the subject of a sexual offences prevention order, Kent Police said.

Father-of-three Leapman, formerly of Aldebert Terrace, Vauxhall, south London, had previously been spared an immediate jail term for a series of online child abuse offences.

In August last year, he pleaded guilty to four counts of making indecent images of children and four counts of publishing obscene articles.

The obscene articles found on his laptop related to explicit chatlogs he engaged in online on a one-to-one basis, Maidstone Crown Court heard at the time.

In the online chatlogs, described as instant messaging via computers, Leapman, under the username Stephh, revealed sexual fantasies including raping a child.

Leapman was arrested in Eynsford on suspicion of the offences which took place between July 2008 and November 2012.

And in police interview, Leapman, who spent years battling to get the House of Commons to come clean over expense claims, said he did not abuse children.

Leapman, who his barrister said had lost his "brilliant'' career in journalism, was handed a nine-month jail term, suspended for 12 months, for the online offences.

Kent Police said that following further investigation, the woman came forward to reveal she had been raped by him.

Following sentencing today, Detective Constable Matthew Avery said: "Ben Leapman took part in obscene conversations on the internet, but claimed the violent sexual scenarios he discussed were just fantasy.

"However, Leapman was later accused of raping a woman and this allegation was supported by the violent sexual fantasies that he had referred to online.

"The victim bravely took to the witness stand to give evidence that helped secure this sentence.

"I hope her courage in reporting the offences will show others who have been the victim of a sexual offence and not reported it to contact police.''

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