Four-and-a-half years in jail following Putnoe sexual assault

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A man who sexually assaulted a teenager in woods in Bedford has been jailed for more than four years.

Rushane Hendricks approached a 17-year-old girl and 18-year-old woman he did not know who were sat in The Spinney woodland area of Putnoe in April 2021.

Hendricks started plying the two with alcohol and cannabis and became increasingly aggressive.

After trying to kiss them both, he forced himself onto one of them and sexually assaulted her.

The other girl managed to record a video while it was happening, where the victim could clearly be heard telling Hendricks to stop.

Read:Police appeal for information about altercation at The Spinney to help rape enquiry

Hendricks, 29, of Monkshill, Bedford, ran away from the scene when the girl managed to telephone her boyfriend and he and his friends came to help her.

The incident took place near to The Spinney

Detectives were able to trace Hendricks’ phone, which was used to place a call to the victim’s phone earlier on in the evening when she was trying to find it.

Officers found his fingerprints on a bottle of vodka at the scene, and also recovered clothing matching that worn by the suspect from his address.

Hendricks pleaded guilty to assault by penetration, and earlier this month was found not guilty of rape and sexual assault.

On Friday (21 April) Hendricks was sentenced to four years and six months at Luton Crown Court.

He was also identified as a ‘dangerous’ offender so will serve an extended licence period of two years following his release.

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Detective Sergeant Mike Robinson from the Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) team said: “This was a terrifying and completely unprovoked attack where a sexual predator has targeted two vulnerable young women for his sexual gratification.

“The victim and her friend in this case have both shown tremendous courage to come forward and provide us with the best evidence to bring Hendricks to justice.

“I am glad that his behaviour has been punished with a significant custodial sentence, as well as an extended licence period to recognise the seriousness of his offending.

“Male violence against women and girls must stop. Misogynistic behaviour and appalling attitudes by a small minority of men are a stain on our society and mean too many women and girls feel unsafe all too often.

“We all have a responsibility to call it out, challenge bad behaviour and eradicate this kind of abuse here in Bedfordshire.”

Bedfordshire Police has a significant focus on tackling perpetrators of male violence against women and girls (MVAWG), and is working with other organisations to support and improve women’s safety across the county.

Victims of rape and sexual assault can receive support and guidance from Bedfordshire Police and partner agencies, including the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) and Bedfordshire Domestic Abuse Partnership (BDAP), as well as support through the criminal investigation process.

Reports of sexual assault, even if non-recent, can be made to the police by calling 101 or online.

You can also contact the SARC Emerald Centre by visiting the website, emailing info@emeraldcentre.org or calling 01234 897052.

Always call 999 in an emergency.

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