July 2023

Serial rapist given extended sentence for ‘campaign’ of attacks on women

A serial rapist who attacked three different women over a two-year period has been handed a 27-year extended sentence.

After raping the women Saul Henvey then tried to “manipulate” them into not reporting the incidents – even telling one woman he attacked in woods that “it’s not rape but love”.

Homeless Henvey was caught after going on the run and a large-scale manhunt which saw police warning drivers not to pick up hitchhikers at the roadside.

Following his arrest for the woodland rape another victim came forward to report he had also attacked her, and detectives then looked again at a previous allegation of rape made against him which involved similar kinds of behaviour.

Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard that in May 2021 Henvey met a woman in Lampeter town centre and after talking for a while the pair agreed to go for a picnic.

A spot in nearby woodland was chosen, and there were initially no issues. However Henvey’s behaviour suddenly changed and he violently attacked the woman, ripping her clothes off, threatening her, putting his hands around her throat, and raping her.

The court heard he kept telling the woman: “It is not rape but love.”

The assault was reported to police and officers were soon on the scene. Henvey was spotted but made off and he went on the run.

The incident sparked a major overnight police search operation and drivers in the area were warned not to pick up hitchhikers. The defendant was located the following day.

Following the publicity around the woodland attack in Lampeter a further victim came forward to report the defendant had twice raped her in her own home while she slept. These offences had happened just two weeks earlier.

Detectives then looked again at a previous rape allegation made against Henvey in January 2020.

This offence had again occurred in the victim’s home after he had stated talking to woman while she was working in her garden and then gone inside for a drink.

The court heard both earlier incidents had seen the defendant “manipulating” the women into not reporting what he had done.

Nicola Powell, for the prosecution, characterised the defendant’s offending as a “campaign of rape”.

The court heard details of statements from the three women the defendant raped in which they set out the impact the attacks have had on them leaving them feeling vulnerable, anxious and frightened. One woman said she now does not trust any man.

Saul Rowan Henvey, aged 47, from Tregaron, Ceredigion, had previously been convicted at trial of four counts of rape when he appeared in the dock for sentencing.

He has previous convictions for offences including shoplifting, public disorder matters, possession of drugs, and dishonesty matters but none for sexual offences.

Judge Catherine Richards said it was clear what Henvey did has had a “devastating” impact on the women involved. She said she had carefully read three psychiatric reports on the defendant and was not satisfied that his offending was wholly attributable to his mental health conditions. The judge said she did not consider a hospital order a suitable disposal.

Henvey was made the subject of 27-year extended sentence with a hospital and limitation direction.

The sentence comprises 21 years in custody followed by a six-year extended licence. The sentence will initially be served in a secure hospital where he will be kept for as long as necessary for treatment.

If his detention in hospital is considered no longer necessary he will be transferred to prison to serve the remainder of the custodial element of the sentence.

He must serve two-thirds of the custodial element of the sentence before he can apply for release but it will be for the Parole Board to determine if he is safe to be released.

Henvey will be a registered sex offender for the rest of his life.