A young girl, who was on a night out in Bedford, was taken advantage of by a man who was supposed to be helping her a court heard yesterday (Thurs).
Instead of helping to get her into a taxi, Scott Thomas walked her to a secluded area near St Paul’s Square in the town centre, where he carried out an assault on her as she lay unconscious on a bench.
Yesterday, Thomas, 29, appeared at Luton crown court to plead guilty to one offence of assault by penetration.
Judge Lynn Tayton QC jailed Thomas, who lives in Bedford, for a total of four years and five months.
The girl was out with a friend in Bedford on the night of 18 October 2017 and, because she ended up so intoxicated, some taxi drivers wouldn’t accept her in their vehicles.
Judge Tayton was told the friend saw Thomas, who was out in the town that night, and asked him to help with getting her a taxi.
But when the two young women began arguing and the friend walked off, Thomas found himself alone with the victim.
Prosecutor John Riley said it was after 11pm and CCTV showed Thomas carrying the victim to a spot near St Paul’s Square, where he placed her on a bench.
The court was told the young girl appeared to be completely unaware of her surroundings lying on the bench.
A CCTV operator was able to focus on the pair and Thomas, who that night had been drinking and had taken drugs, was seen to be rubbing the young woman’s leg.
Judge Tayton was told the emergency services were alerted and an ambulance attended the scene.
The girl was found to be unresponsive and her clothing was such that her breasts and knickers were exposed.
The court was told the girl has no memory of that night, but suffered vaginal soreness and bruises to her leg.
Discovering later what had happened to her and how she had been taken advantage of, had left her shocked and distressed, the court was told.
Thomas, of St John’s Street, Bedford, had a string of previous convictions, but nothing in his offending related to sexual offences.
A psychological report had concluded that Thomas, who had been in foster care in his youth and later adopted, had mild learning difficulties with a borderline personality disorder.
Later he had lived a chaotic life using alcohol and drugs.
Passing sentence, the judge said “The victim was particularly vulnerable because of her circumstances.
“You were under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time and deliberately took the victim to a dark area away from members of the public.”
The judge said Thomas had no relevant previous offending and told him “It seems to me this was opportunistic offending” adding that it was an “isolated offence.”
The judge said that any term of imprisonment would have a greater effect on Thomas because of his mental health issues.
She sentenced him to four years and five months imprisonment, explaining to him that he would have to serve half the term before he would be released on licence.
The judge said his name would be added to the sex offenders register for an indefinite period.
- Update: in response to a number of requests, this article was updated on 5 September 2020 to remove the word ‘drunk’ from the headline and ‘who after drinking too much’ in the opening paragraph. However, this is a court report and so we cannot change the wording or statements said in open court from either side in the actual article. We have asked a number of people, who have contacted us, if they would like to help us formulate future articles to highlight the issues of how victims of rape and sexual assault are described in court, we await their response. In the meantime, we will be working with support groups and charities for further guidance. We agree that this is an important issue that needs greater awareness and we are grateful that readers have taken the time to bring this to our attention.