June 2010

Man jailed after he raped woman while out on bail for molesting a young girl

SEX attacker Peter Smith has been jailed, potentially indefinitely, for raping a woman while on bail for molesting a young girl.

At Exeter Crown Court Smith, 23, of Summersby Close, Seaton, was given a Sentence of Imprisonment for Public Protection, which means he will be released only if a parole board considers it safe.

Judge Graham Cottle said he would impose a minimum term of five years before the board could consider Smith’s case, but this did not necessarily mean he would be released then.

Smith pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child and an offence of exposure, involving a girl under 13, and was found guilty at trial of two rapes and one sexual offence involving an incident with an East Devon woman in her 60s, after he denied those allegations.

Judge Cottle said: “You are, as things stand at the moment, a highly dangerous individual capable of committing serious sexual offences against vulnerable females. It is my public duty to pass upon you an indeterminate sentence for the parole board to decide when and where it is safe to release you.”

Prosecutor Richard Crabb said Smith touched the girl sexually last year and exposed himself to her and another girl on the same day.

He said Smith had been released on bail while waiting to be sentenced.

“The probation service were looking for non-custodial options before they were aware of the defendant’s somewhat entrenched attitudes,” he said.

While on bail, Smith raped the woman, whom he knew, in her home last year and threatened to kill her when she said she would tell police.

At his trial this year he claimed they had consensual sex, but the court heard that she feared he would kill her if she did not submit, and she suffered a panic attack during the incident. Mr Crabb, at sentencing, said the woman had suffered nightmares and had had to move from her home.

The court heard that Smith has minor previous convictions, but nothing similar.

Defence counsel Kelly Scrivener said the defendant had had a very troubled childhood — which was outlined in court — and had a lot of anger as a result.

She said he was remorseful about the sexual offence against the young girl.

Smith had been attacked with a cigarette lighter by a fellow inmate and was aware of the “disgust” people felt towards people who committed sex offences. He was keen to take rehabilitation courses.

Judge Cottle told the defendant: “You were on bail, pending sentencing, for the offences against the girl, when you committed the offences against the woman, of which you were convicted by a jury.

“I’ve no doubt that you targeted a vulnerable female. You followed her into her home and you subjected her to a terrifying ordeal over a fairly significant period of time.”

He imposed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order and said Smith must put his details on the Sexual Offenders Register until further notice.