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Six years' jail for rapist in the bed

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A LOCAL man was yesterday sentenced to six years in prison for raping a woman in her own home.

A LOCAL man was yesterday sentenced to six years in prison for raping a woman in her own home. Richard Barnes, 29, had denied the offence which happened in May last year but the Jurats of the Royal Court unanimously found him guilty last month after a five-day trial.

In sentencing yesterday, Deputy Bailiff Geoffrey Rowland said that the offence was most serious and that the court had unlimited sentencing power.

'You pleaded not guilty and the victim had, at your election, to endure an oral committal and then a trial, thereby compounding the distress,' he said.

The night before the offence, Barnes had gatecrashed a party near his house after drinking heavily in Town. He was asked to leave and went home to get changed out of wet clothes - he had been swimming in the pool.

A police officer saw him walking to his house at about 1.10am. Barnes returned to the party but walked, through an unlocked front door, into the wrong house. He went straight upstairs, passing the lounge where the victim's fiance was asleep.

The fiance had already put the woman to bed after she had had too much to drink and had then fallen asleep on the sofa while watching a film.

Barnes got into her bed and fell asleep before having sex with her between 5.30am and 6am. The woman said that she had woken up to find a complete stranger with her. She had shouted and tried to push him off.

'You opportunistically took advantage of her while she was asleep,' said the Deputy Bailiff.

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'She woke up realising that the man having sexual intercourse with her was not her fiance but you. She told you to get off and you did so, not immediately but very soon after being told to do so. You had sexual intercourse with a complete stranger in order, no doubt, to gratify a sexual urge.'

The fact that Barnes, uninvited, gained access to the victim's home, went to her bedroom and raped her was an aggravating factor, said the Deputy Bailiff, particularly when the woman was a complete stranger.

He said that the court attached no responsibility to the victim or her fiance and recognised that she had suffered considerable emotional and psychological distress.

The traumatic experience would have a profound effect on her for the rest of her life, he said.

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Victim impact-assessment and social inquiry reports had been submitted.

The court noted that Barnes was assessed as not presenting an ongoing serious risk of sexual harm. He had five previous convictions for acts of violence - none of a sexual nature or towards a woman. He was therefore treated as a person of previous good character but, in this case, the Deputy Bailiff said that it did not entitle him to a substantial reduction of sentence.

Barnes' counsel, Advocate Peter Ferbrache, said that his client was sorry for what he had put the victim through and accepted what he had done - even though he did not believe he had committed rape.

The Deputy Bailiff said that the court noted that Barnes had not planned the rape in advance, nor had he stalked or targeted the victim, used violence or a weapon or threatened her.

'The period for which she was conscious of what was happening to her was mercifully short,' he said.

Taking a starting point of seven years, the court sentenced Barnes to six in prison from 14 May this year when he was found guilty.

The sentence took into account 72 days that Barnes had already spent in custody.

Mr Rowland said that he was also mindful that the sentence should act as a deterrent to others.

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