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A man has been sentenced to seven years in prison for raping a woman in Portsmouth City Centre last summer.
Daniel Booth, who was 18 at the time he committed the offence but is now 20, was sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court today (Monday 7 November).
In addition to his prison sentence, of which he will be required to serve at least two thirds in custody, he will also have to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.
Booth, of Beresford Road, pleaded not guilty to the rape, which took place on June 29 2021, but was found guilty by a jury following a trial at the same court in June 2022.
The jury heard how the victim, a woman in her 20s, reported to police that she had been separated from her friends shortly after 11pm following a night out in Portsmouth. She reported waking up in what officers later determined to be Hippodrome House Car Park in the early hours of June 30th with no recollection of what had happened to her.
She was located by members of the public who found her in the car park and helped her to contact her friends and ensured that she got home.
An investigation was launched, led by Hampshire Constabulary’s specialist Operation Amberstone team, and extensive CCTV enquiries led to the arrest of Booth.
Further CCTV, forensic and mobile phone analysis subsequently led to him being charged with one count of rape.
An examination of Booth’s mobile phone by police showed that prior to his arrest, he had been doing web searches on Google about rape including how someone can be convicted of rape and what evidence police need to charge someone with rape. He also visited the CPS website on how the Crown Prosecution Service prosecute rape.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, the woman involved said that what happened to her will be a nightmare that she will forever have to live with.
Sentencing Booth, Judge Timothy Mousley KC commended the bravery of the victim after Booth had put her through a trial by pleading not guilty as he “did not have the courage to admit the obvious”.
Judge Mousley also commended the actions of the young man who found the victim and made sure she got to a place of safety while looking after her and ensuring she was eventually reunited with her friends.
He told Booth: “She could not have anticipated what happened to her that night and was incapable of protecting herself from you. You took complete advantage of her. You carried her to the place where you violently raped her and abandoned her, you left her in the cold and wet.”
Operation Amberstone Detective Constable Nick Sandford-Smith, who led the investigation, said: “This was a truly terrible and predatory crime that has understandably had a significant impact on the woman involved.
“The courage it takes to come forward and speak to us about incidents of this nature should not be underestimated and I would like to take this opportunity to commend this young woman for the bravery she has shown.
“The fact that Booth is now in prison is testament to her courage in speaking out and assisting police with this investigation.
“The Operation Amberstone team works tirelessly to target perpetrators of rape, and provide specialist support to survivors who have been affected.
“I hope that this sentence goes some way to helping the woman involved gain closure and begin to move forward with her life. We want our communities, and survivors of abuse, to know that we stand with them and will do everything in our power to bring offenders to justice.”
Portsmouth Detective Chief Inspector Dal Andrews said: “No-one in our community should ever be in a position where they do not feel safe walking the streets. For someone to be targeted in this way is abhorrent and will never be tolerated by police.
“First and foremost I would like to say thank you to the woman involved for her courage in telling us what happened and assisting so bravely with the investigation.
“I would also like to commend the actions of the members of the public who stopped to help her and made sure she got home safely.
“We continue with our dedicated patrols at times when our pubs and clubs are at their busiest. A key focus of our officers, together with our partners including pubs and clubs, is to identify vulnerable people and safeguard them, as well as targeting and calling out perpetrators, arresting and using dispersal powers where necessary.
“We work very hard in Portsmouth to tackle sexual offences in partnership with organisations that support survivors. We want you to have the confidence to come forward and talk to us if something has happened to you, or somebody you know.”
We encourage anyone who has been affected by sexual abuse to report this to police on 101 or via our online reporting tool.
Always call 999 if a crime is in progress or you feel that you’re in danger.
For more information on where to seek independent support as a survivor of sexual offences, you can visit our website: https://www.hampshire.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/rsa/rape-and-sexual-assault/support-for-victims-of-rape-and-sexual-assault/