May 24 2013 Latest news:
By Matt Hunter
Thursday, September 20, 2012
A MAN has been sentenced to eight years in prison after he forced a woman with disabilities into a toilet and raped her.
Gary Beal, 44, of Great Thurlow near Haverhill, was sentenced after being found guilty in an earlier hearing of rape, false imprisonment and sexual assault.
Ipswich Crown Court heard how on June 18 last year, Beal approached a woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, in Haverhill Market Place and started chatting to her.
The woman tried to walk away from Beal but he pursued her and pushed her into a toilet, locked the door and raped her on the floor.
The woman was described as being “very deaf” and of “limited understanding”. Judge Goodin said to Beal: “You walked with her and pushed her into the lavatories and then sexually assaulted and raped her.”
The judge said: “Because of his previous knowledge of her, he knew she was very deaf. He pursued her as she tried to get away from him.
“He then pushed her into the toilets. The abduction part of it is the obvious aggravating feature in this case.
“It raises it to the next sentencing bracket.”
Beal, who pleaded not guilty, had previously been arrested on nine separate occasions on suspicion of sexually assaulting vulnerable women – but he had never been convicted of any of the charges.
In his summing up, Judge Goodin said the aggravating feature of false imprisonment meant he had to give Beal a sentence of eight years.
Beal’s lawyer Mr Kelly said there was “limited mitigation” in the case but noted his client had no previous convictions.
The court heard how the attack happened just days after the woman’s husband had come out of hospital.
Beal, who lives with his mother, was also given a sexual offences prevention order which means he will face a prison sentence of up to five years if he is ever in contact with the woman again.