April 2009

Teen’s terror ordeal

When a fifteen-year-old girl allowed Ben Woodcraft to become a friend on Facebook she had no way of knowing that she was chatting to a rapist who was out of prison on licence.

She agreed to meet him a few days later, and a court heard he began to touch her sexually in his car.

However, she protested, and he took heed of her protests and he drove her home, said prosecutor Claudette Elliott,on Friday Woodcraft, 22, then sent her a text message saying ‘sorry – not usually like that’.

Judge John Bevan QC said: “This is a lesson to other young people.

When she signed him up as a friend she was in complete ignorance that she was talking to someone on licence from a four-and-a-half year sentence for rape.” 

Woodcraft, from Oliver Street, Ampthill pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court to sexual activity with a girl under sixteen. He was ordered to serve the year remaining from his last sentence with an additional five months for the new offence. He is already on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.

Miss Elliott said when the girl agreed to let him become a friend she believed he knew her sister.

When they got chatting she told him her age and he told her his and it was clear they did not know each other. Two days later on February 26 this year, they met up in Clophill.

The prosecutor said they kissed and then he put his hand on her leg and began moving it upwards and she objected and moved his hand away. Then he put his fingers under her bra strap and again she objected.

“He accused her of leading him on and she got out of the car and began walking away. She said she felt terrified. The area was dark and isolated and he persuaded her to get back in the car saying he would take her home, which he did.” 

The court was told that in 2004 he raped an 18-year-old girl on a pathway after meeting her in a pub. He was sentenced to fourand- a-half years in custody for that offence in Sept 2005.

Derek Johashen, defending, said: “The contact was made on Facebook because they had a mutual friend. He was not acting in a predatory or grooming way.

“In the car the kissing was mutual, but he accepts fully what happened after that. But when she told him to stop, he did and he took her home without any further incident.” 

He said Woodcraft had written a letter to the court expressing his remorse.

Judge Bevan said: “It was a terrifying experience for a 15-year-old girl.”