May 2015

Man jailed for series of sex offences

Stephen Bethell jailed for sex offences in Horsham

A man has been jailed for a series of sexual assaults in Horsham.

Stephen Bethell, 45, who was unemployed and of no fixed address but had lived in the Horsham area, was sentenced at Hove Crown Court on Thursday April 30.

He had previously pleaded guilty to rape and two counts of sexual assault at the same court on March 18.

He admitted the rape of a woman in her early 30s nine years ago and the sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl in May last year.

He also admitted sexually assaulting a woman in her 30s in January 2014.

Bethell was sentenced to a total of four years immediate imprisonment, two thirds of which are to be served in prison.

The remainder of the sentence, plus a further seven years, is to be served on supervision while on prison release licence.

He will also be a registered sex offender for life.

Detective Constable Stuart MacPherson said; “Over a period of several years Bethell separately sexually abused all these people.

“They had felt unable to report the offences to the police at the time, but last year we received information about some of his offending from another source.

“We began an investigation and they all worked with us, which has resulted in Bethell, who Judge David Rennie described as a ‘dangerous man’, being brought to justice.

“It is good that he will now serve a prison sentence, and will be in continued supervision in the community, for life. The sentencing also means that the victims now have the opportunity to draw closure to this hideous series of crimes, and will be able to move on with their lives.”