August 2003

Judge praises girl as rapist is jailed

A man who raped an 18-year-old student and indecently assaulted his 13-year-old girlfriend has been sentenced to eight years in jail.

And Judge Roger Scott praised the rape victim for being “magnificent” in the witness box.

The rape happened in the early hours of February 5, 2002, after the victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was leaving a Leeds nightclub.

Andrew Garbutt, now 19, got into a taxi with her outside the club, after helping the girl when she fell down steps.

Garbutt, of Liversedge, directed the taxi to Weetwood Lane, Leeds, where he led her down a muddy path and raped her after knocking her unconscious with a stone. Garbutt – who was 17 when he committed the rape – and his family moved from Leeds to Liversedge following the assault. There he started a relationship with a 13-year-old girl.

Prosecuting, Richard Mansell QC told Leeds Crown Court yesterday how Garbutt indecently assaulted the girl while on bail for the rape offence.

Garbutt was found guilty of the rape at trial, and later pleaded guilty to three indecent assaults.

In mitigation, Fiona Dix-Dyer said her client still claimed he had had consensual sex with the student. And she said diaries written by his 13-year-old victim proved she had consented to Garbutt’s actions, knew how old he was and that he was on bail for the rape offence.

“This was not a sneaky offence,” she said. Garbutt had told his own parents that he was going out with the young girl.

“Both parents were not particularly happy but his mother assisted with transporting the girl and buying Christmas presents for her,” she said.

“While he was 18, he was very young for his age which was confirmed by the probation officer’s report.”

Sentencing, Judge Scott told Garbutt of the terrible effect the rape had had on the student. “By coincidence the very day that you were arrested on a DNA hit, she attempted to commit suicide,” he said. And he praised the rape victim’s courage on giving evidence during the trial.

“You, I hope, will remember to your dying day that girl, not on the muddy footpath in north Leeds but in court,” he told Garbutt. “She was magnificent in the witness box. There is no other word for it.”

In contrast, he described Garbutt’s attitude during the trial as ice cold and creepy. He told Garbutt he feared there was a high risk that he would re-offend.

Garbutt was sentenced to eight years for the rape, with 18 months to run concurrently for indecent assault.

He was told by the judge that, had he been an adult at the time of the rape, he would have received a more severe jail term.

Garbutt will remain on licence for four years when released from jail and will have to be on the sex offenders’ register for the rest of his life.

He was also banned from ever working with children.