August 2011

22 years for rapist of under-age teenagers

A RAPIST has been jailed for 22 years and been ordered to sign on the sexual offences register indefinitely after molesting two teenagers.

Darren Edwards, 40, of Brookfield Street in Bideford, was found guilty of raping the girls in separate incidents. The court had heard he tried to wash evidence off his body while in police custody.

Exeter Crown Court heard he repeatedly committed sexual offences against one of the girls, who were both aged under 16. He bullied her and gave her money and cannabis.

The defendant was found guilty of the rape of one girl in an incident last year after a trial at the same court. He was also convicted of two rapes, two sexual assaults and two other sexual offences against the other victim.

Judge Graham Cottle said he was going to give Edwards a determinate sentence, for a set period of time in prison, after the verdict was announced on Friday last week.

The court heard the police were first contacted by the family of one girl and Edwards was arrested.

While in custody he was spotted trying to wash himself in a toilet. He was shown on CCTV doing so again when he asked for a glass of water and after medical examination, the girl’s DNA was found on him.

Further police investigations revealed allegations about his behaviour towards the other girl.

She told police Edwards had repeatedly raped her and sexually assaulted her.

Edwards, giving evidence in his trial, said he had consensual sexual activity once with the girl he was accused of raping last year, but it was on a much lesser scale than she described.

He added he did not realise she was under-age and her allegation of rape was complete nonsense.

He claimed the other girl’s allegations about repeated sex offences were absolute nonsense and she was telling lies.

He said he was acting like a child when a police officer spotted him washing his hands and told him not to, adding he had nothing to hide.

Edwards has a long criminal record including violence and dishonesty but no previous convictions for sexual offences. He was sentenced to 22 years imprisonment and received a indefinite disqualification from working with children.