Ten Years In Prison For Stranger Rape

A man who raped a young woman in Poole has been jailed.

Thomas Coutts, a 21-year-old man originally from Peterborough, was yesterday sentenced to ten years imprisonment and five years extended sentence for raping a 20-year-old woman who was unknown to him.

Coutts pleaded guilty to rape and sexual assault on the first day of his trial on 4 February at Bournemouth Crown Court.

Following his sentence, Carolyn Branford-Wood, Crown Advocate for CPS Wessex who prosecuted the case said:

"This was a vicious attack on a young woman walking home from a petrol station's convenience shop on Longfleet Road, in Poole having purchased some food in the early hours of Monday 20 August 2012.

"The 20-year-old woman was attacked by Coutts who was lying in wait for a victim. He grabbed her, placed his hand over her mouth, held her with his other arm , claiming that she was being followed by two men.

"He then ordered her to get down on the floor and then subjected her to an horrific assault by handcuffing her hands, placing a cloth into her mouth to gag her and holding a knife to her throat so that he could take advantage of his defenceless victim.

"He left her after stealing her mobile telephone. Once he was out of sight the petrified young woman ran away from the scene, alerting two people who were walking by of what had happened. They called the police who were soon upon the scene and able to release her from the handcuffs which she was still wearing.

"This young woman has clearly been the victim of a terrifying ordeal. She is to be commended not only for having the courage to report this crime but also in supporting a prosecution.

"We would like to thank all the other witnesses in this case in particular the two members of the public who contacted the police. Their evidence together with the statement of the victim have enabled the prosecution to build a strong case to put before the court. As a result, Coutts changed his pleas to guilty on the first day of his trial.

"We hope that this conviction and sentence will bring some closure to the victim at least insofar as the Criminal Justice process is concerned and will enable her to move on with her life."