Ex-soldier jailed for another rape

Click to follow
The Independent Online

An ex-soldier who raped a woman while on licence after serving a prison term for another rape was jailed for seven years today.

James Lang, 26, who was thrown out of the British Army after being convicted of rape while serving in Germany, attacked a drunk woman after a night out in his hometown of Torquay, Devon.

He denied the offence but was convicted after the prosecution at his trial, backed by CCTV footage, argued his unconscious victim was too drunk to consent to sex with him.

The footage, shown at his four-day trial at Exeter Crown Court, showed him putting his teenage victim, whom he met in a club, over his shoulder and carrying her up a dark alley, where he raped her in a doorway in October last year.

Sentencing him at the same court today, Judge Graham Cottle told the former Royal Logistics Corps lance corporal he attacked her in a place "as inconducive to consensual sex as one can imagine".

"She had no idea where she had been. She woke up there realising she had been raped.

"If not a carbon copy (of his previous offence) it was very similar. You took advantage of a woman insensible through alcohol.

"Your propensity to have sexual designs on women who have drunk too much is deeply worrying."

There was a disturbance in court after Lang was sentenced as one of his victim's relatives tried to come face to face with him in the dock, but he was prevented from doing so by court staff.

The court heard that Lang, of Laburnum Street, Torquay, was jailed for four years in April 2008, reduced to three years on appeal, after raping a drunk woman in his room in British Army barracks in Osnabruck. She woke up and found him on top of her, before managing to escape and raise the alarm in the guardroom.

He has been released after serving less than his full sentence in April 2010 and was back in Torquay when, on October 4 last year, he met his victim in a nightclub. His trial in June this year heard that they were seen getting on well with each other before leaving together. The girl, the court heard today, had drunk around 13 pints of beer plus Sambuca shots but left the club under her own steam.

However, CCTV footage later showed her unconscious, with Lang asking a passer-by to help get her up on to his shoulder in a "fireman's lift".

Sean Brunton, prosecuting, said: "She was certainly unconscious, in a stupor. Between them they managed to get her up on to the defendant's shoulder. She was then carried, fireman's lift-style, around the corner."

The footage showed her appearing alone much later, looking confused and dishevelled. She went home and immediately told her father.

When questioned by police, Lang admitted having sex with the woman in an alleyway, but claimed she has consented. But he was found guilty at trial.

Rupert Taylor, representing Lang, said: "He has accepted he has issues that need to be dealt with. He is still a young man, he is only 26."

He added that it was not a case of "stranger rape" as they had been seen chatting together in the club prior to the attack.

"It is not a stranger attack in the classic way. They were known to each other."

Judge Cottle, sentencing Lang, said he considered jailing him indefinitely for public protection, but was satisfied a determinate sentence was adequate, but he also ordered Lang serve a further five years on licence once he is released.

"There is no doubt that she had been drinking quite heavily," Judge Cottle told him.

"You came across her in a club and it is not clear as to what happened between you in that club. What is clear, and confirmed by CCTV footage, is that there came a time when she was almost if not completely unconscious through drink.

"You took advantage of that situation to take her into a doorway and that is where you raped her. You took advantage of a young girl who was clearly not in a position to give or withhold consent to sexual activity. And it doesn't stop there, you have done this before."