A support worker has been jailed for raping and sexually assaulting a ‘vulnerable’ teenager in Chester city centre just minutes after meeting her.
James Parry, of Marlston Avenue in Westminster Park , subjected his 18-year-old victim to a ‘sustained attack’ in a doorway in St Peter’s Courtyard after the pair – who had both been drinking – struck up a conversation outside Rosies nightclub on June 20 last year.
The 25-year-old, who worked with autistic adults, was sentenced to nine years in prison when he appeared at Chester Crown Court on Tuesday (April 19).
He was convicted of sexually assaulting the woman following a trial last year, but jurors failed to reach a verdict on the rape charge.
A fresh jury comprising eight men and four women took three hours and 20 minutes to find him guilty of rape last month. He had strenuously denied all charges.
Impact on victim's family
Prosecuting counsel Mark Connor read statements from the victim’s parents, in which both spoke of their overwhelming feelings of guilt at not being able to protect their daughter from Parry.
The victim’s mother said she felt ‘helpless’ and revealed that the attack has had an effect on their family’s whole dynamic, while her father recalled feeling ‘physically sick’ when his daughter woke him in the early hours of June 20, 2015, and told him what had happened.
Defending, Owain Edwards accepted his client launched a ‘sustained attack’ of around 10 minutes after Parry and his victim initially engaged in consensual kissing.
“On any view, those 10 minutes have caused a lifetime of suffering for two families,” said Mr Edwards.
“Parry must pay the price for his serious and selfish actions.”
But Mr Edwards added that Parry, who has no previous convictions, is ‘of good character and an impeccable work record’, whose risk of re-offending is low due to the support he has from his family.
The five-day trial at Warrington Crown Court heard that Parry and his victim started chatting about tattoos when they encountered one another on Northgate Street and agreed to go into an alleyway around 72 seconds later so she could show him one she had on her hip.
After they kissed, she became uncomfortable and wanted to return to her friends but Parry forced himself on her.
Judge Nicholas Woodward said he was ‘quite satisfied’ that Parry knew from the outset that the complainant – who he described as ‘particularly vulnerable’ due to her age, sexual inexperience and the amount of alcohol she had consumed – had mistaken him for a man called Connor she had met earlier that evening and that Parry allowed the mistake to be made ‘in order to instigate a sexual encounter with her which otherwise would never have come about’.
Judge Woodward granted a restraining order banning Parry from contacting his victim and prohibited him from working with children and vulnerable adults in the future.
“I believe from the evidence I have heard and from my observations of you during the course of the trial that there is a very real possibility that these offences were in fact an aberrant and isolated fact brought about through circumstances and alcohol,” Judge Woodward added.
“You have simply not been able to publicly acknowledge that because of the shame you feel and because of the shame it would bring on your family.”