May 19 2013 Latest news:
Safira Ali, Senior reporter
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
A Brentwood man has been jailed for nine years after kidnapping and raping a woman.
Billy Bennett, 22, of Great Fox Meadow, Kelvedon Hatch, approached a 26-year-old woman in New London Road, Chelmsford, in his Ford Focus as she made her way home from a night out with friends.
He threatened to stab her with a knife before subjecting her to a sexual assault, then drove her to the former St John’s Hospital site, in Wood Street, and subjected her to a further series of sexual assaults.
The following day Bennett handed himself into police and was arrested and charged with the kidnap and sexual assaults.
On Monday he appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court for sentencing.
His defence barrister Pavlos Panayi QC said: “He is appalled and horrified by his own behaviour.”
He added that in interview Bennett said: “He had taken so many drugs and far more than anything that he had consumed before.
“He said he had a couple of grams of coke. [Bennett said] ‘It messed me up enough to rape a bird. Why did I do it? I don’t know. It’s disgusting, it really is; it’s not me’.”
Mr Panayi added that Bennett’s mum Jenny and girlfriend of three-and-a-half years Sophie Smith had given good character statements.
Sophie said in the statement: ‘I never saw Billy have an argument with anyone during the course of our relationship. We would argue but it was mostly caused by me. He didn’t like to argue.’
Mr Recorder John Dodd QC said when sentencing: “She feared for her life and sensibly did what you demanded of her. You told her if she didn’t do what you asked you would stab her. She feared for her life.”
Judge Dodd added: “This must have been a truly terrifying experience for her.
“She behaved with remarkable bravery throughout. No-one can fail to be impressed with the way that she behaved and thereafter to give sufficient details [about Bennett].”
The judge added that the character references from Bennett’s mum, girlfriend and family members “all spoke in glowing terms about you being a polite, thoughtful and considerate person and can’t believe you did what you did.
“You gave no explanation except that you had taken coke and were acting under the influence, but it doesn’t supply an excuse or mitigation for what you did.
“These were very serious crimes of violence against a young woman whose life has been changed forever as a result.”
Bennett pleaded guilty to three rapes, one assault by penetration and kidnap, at the same court on May 19 this year.