June 2020

Rapist sentenced to 16 years in prison

A man has been sentenced to 16 years in prison after being found guilty of raping and seriously assaulting a woman as she walked through a park in Bournemouth town centre.

Luke Alan West, aged 29 and of Durley Chine Road in Bournemouth, was convicted of charges of rape and inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent at Winchester Crown Court on Tuesday 16 June 2020 following an 11-day trial.

West’s victim, a Bournemouth woman aged in her 40s, was walking through Lower Gardens on her way to work at around 5.40am on Wednesday 13 November 2019 when he approached her from behind. West grabbed her around the neck and proceeded to physically assault her and rape her.

The victim was found by members of the public at around 6.10am with significant facial injuries and taken to hospital for treatment. While in hospital she reported that she had been raped by an unknown man in the gardens.

A major investigation was launched by Dorset Police, which included an extensive trawl of CCTV footage from the area. Through these enquiries a suspect was identified from the CCTV, who was seen near to the area just before the incident and then caught on another camera running away from the scene shortly afterwards.

At around 10.10pm on Thursday 14 November 2019 officers stopped a man matching the description of the suspect from the CCTV in Commercial Road. He initially gave a false name but was subsequently arrested and confirmed to be West.

Detectives also obtained DNA evidence linking West to the offence and he was charged with rape on Saturday 16 November 2019.

The victim sustained significant bruising to her face, neck, chest and arms as a result of the attack as well as a fracture to her eye socket.