A man has been sentenced to eight years in prison after being found guilty of raping a woman four years ago.

Colin Richard Higgins, 54 of Copperfield, Chigwell, appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday, 31 May where he was sentenced.

Essex Police received a report on June 17 2020 of a woman being seriously sexually assaulted the previous day.

After assaulting her, Higgins said “you’re not going to call the police are you” before leaving.

Higgins was arrested on the day of the report and later charged with rape of a woman over 16 and two counts of breach of a restraining order.

Following a four-day trial at Chelmsford Crown Court which began on May 13, the jury found him guilty of rape and one count of breach of a restraining order.

The jury found him not guilty on one count of breach of a restraining order.

The judge ordered him to serve at least two thirds of his sentence. He was also issued with a restraining order.  

Following the sentence, the victim said: “I am pleased that the jury has given me a small measure of justice and recognition.

“I hope that this small victory can help other victims realise that there is hope for a conviction for sexual offences, as I know they have a low conviction rate.

“I am grateful to everyone, friends, family, the police, all the professionals who stayed with me throughout this experience and helped me in any way.”

Detective Constable Lauren Whitewell, investigating officer in the case said “Higgins put the victim through a horrendous ordeal, refusing to acknowledge what he had done and putting her through a long process to get her justice.

“Her patience and strength has been the driver behind this investigation and I hope that she is able to start moving forward with her life.

“Our officers acted quickly, arresting Higgins within six hours of the initial report.  

“We do not under-estimate the strength it takes for victims of sexual abuse to report but I can assure you that all reports are taken seriously and we encourage anyone who has been sexual abused to contact us.”