October 2019

Dangerous rapist given 22 year sentence for sex attack on woman

A young woman has been left with depression and anxiety after she was raped in an alleyway by a “dangerous career criminal”, a court has heard.

Gareth Thorpe, 39, attacked the woman, who was walking alone after an argument with her boyfriend, and raped her in an alleyway near Highgate Infant School, on Gaywood Road.

The young woman, who was in her early 20s, could not fully recall what happened as she had been drinking, but said Thorpe had pulled her tights down and raped her, leaving her with cuts and a broken tooth, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Marc Brown, prosecuting, said the victim, who chose not to attend the sentencing hearing, says she now suffers from a loss of confidence, depression and anxiety and had also lost her job as a result of the sex attack.

Thorpe, of James Scott Close, Downham Market, had denied raping the woman in the early hours of January 27 last year, but was convicted following a six-day trial.

He appeared for sentence via video link from Peterborough jail.

The court heard Thorpe had 52 convictions for 116 offences going back to 1995, which included offences of violence, including a nine-year sentence for causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Judge Andrew Shaw described Thorpe as a “violent and dishonest” man and imposed an extended 22-year sentence made up of 14 years custody with eight years on licence.

He said: “You are a dangerous career criminal.”

He said Thorpe had targeted a vulnerable victim, who was incapable of consenting at the time, and said the rape had a devastating effect.

He said, during the trial, he had seen that Thorpe at times acted in an unpredictable way.

During the trial, the court heard Thorpe had been a complete stranger to the victim and despite being told a number of times to leave her alone he had gone on to rape her.

She managed to run away and Thorpe was arrested near the scene and tried to claim he had done nothing wrong and that the sex was consensual.