Man sentenced to ten years in prison for rape of 22-year-old woman in Portsmouth
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A 29-year-old man has been sentenced to ten years in prison after being found guilty of raping a 22-year-old woman in Portsmouth in October 2021.
Samuel Belstone, of Copnor Road, Portsmouth, was found guilty following a trial in April this year.
The court heard that in the early hours of Saturday 9 October 2021, following a night out in the city centre, the victim, now 23, had been raped by a man unknown to her in an outdoor area she was not familiar with.
This was reported to police at 8.30am on the same morning and an investigation was launched by specialist officers.
Following extensive CCTV enquiries and forensic analysis, Belstone was arrested and charged with two counts of rape.
He initially denied the offence, but has now been given ten years in prison having appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court for sentencing today (Monday 9 May).
Detective Sergeant Claire Ratcliffe, of Hampshire Constabulary’s specialist rape unit Operation Amberstone, said: “First and foremost, we would like to commend the bravery and courage of the victim in this case. We know how incredibly difficult it can be to report crimes of this nature and this has understandably been a traumatic time for the lady involved, who has been supported by specialist officers at every stage of the investigation.
“I hope that today’s sentence will give her some closure and help her to begin moving forward in her life. I hope that the outcome of this case also reassures members of the public that we take allegations of this type of offence extremely seriously, and will do everything in our power to bring offenders before the courts.
“Our Operation Amberstone team is dedicated to providing the best response to reports of rape, which includes the use of specially trained officers who are assigned to victims and support them throughout the investigation in partnership with victim services.
“Rape investigations are some of the most complex cases we work on, and we continue working hard in partnership with CPS Wessex to identify offenders and get justice for victims.”
Portsmouth Superintendent and District Commander Clare Jenkins said: “The officers involved in this case have worked extremely hard to bring the investigation to the point we have reached today. I would like to thank them for their dedication to securing this outcome for the victim.
“I hope the community feels reassured that when we receive these sorts of allegations, we will take them seriously and do everything in our power to bring those responsible to justice.
“We work very hard in Portsmouth to tackle sexual offences and violence against women and girls in partnership with organisations that support survivors and will continue to work relentlessly targeting the perpetrators of sexual offences. Violence, intimidation and harassment of any kind towards women and girls is not acceptable in any form. Women and girls deserve to feel safe in our city. We want you to have the confidence to come forward and talk to us if something has happened to you, or somebody you know.
“A key focus for us continues to be working with local businesses, our licensed premises, our communities, our invaluable partners across the city and of course our vital volunteers and third sector organisations to make sure that women and girls feel safe.
“We have been upping our patrols at key times around our bars and clubs, as well as working with licensed premises within the city around how they safeguard their customers, with all venues having been offered welfare and vulnerability training. This is so that staff are able to identify potentially vulnerable people and how to properly safeguard them. The training encourages premises to adopt safe areas and encourage the use of welfare officers, as well as ensuring that people feel they can easily report an incident to staff.
“If you’ve been a victim, please report rape or sexual assault as soon as possible. Even if you’re not 100 per cent sure, we’d sooner hear from you so that we can make sure you’re safe. If you’re not ready to talk to the police just yet, that’s OK. There are a range of places to get support, advice and medical help.”
You can speak to a number of organisations in confidence and what you tell them won't be shared with the police unless you ask for it to be.