Man jailed for attacking a girl in Ware and raping a woman in Hertford

08/08/2016

A man appeared at St Albans Crown Court today, Monday, 08 August 2016, and was jailed for life and to serve a minimum of 10 years for offences against a teenage girl in Ware and a woman in Hertford.

Christopher Parsons, aged 41, from Castle Street, Hertford was sentenced after being found guilty on 30 June 2016, after a 2-week trial, of a number of offences.

He was found guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH), false imprisonment, committing an offence with intent to commit a sexual offence and threats to kill in connection with an incident which occurred on the evening of 15 June 2015, in Musley Lane, Ware, during which a 16-year-old girl was attacked.

He was also found guilty of raping a woman at a property in Hertford in December 2015, along with failing to comply with sex offender notification requirements between 22 November and 19 December last year. At an earlier hearing, he pleaded guilty to failing to comply with sex offender notification requirements relating to the period between 01 May and 31 August last year.

In addition to the custodial sentence, Parsons was made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) with conditions that include him not approaching lone females in the street, having contact with girls under 18 unless their parent or guardians know his history and he must inform his monitoring officer about any sexual relationships he forms on his release.

The court heard how in September 2000, Parsons had been convicted of raping a woman in California and jailed for 17 years. He returned to the UK in March 2013, and in May that year he was ordered to register as a sex offender for life (at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court).

Celia Mardon, Senior Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved the false imprisonment and assault of a 16-year-old girl in Ware last June and the rape of a woman in Hertford last December.

"At about 10.30pm on 15 June last year, the 16-year-old victim was in Musley lane, Ware when she was grabbed from behind by Parsons, punched in the face, dragged up a grass verge into bushes where he attempted to sexually assault her. She screamed for help and bravely and frantically fought him off causing him to flee, leaving her with bruises and scratches to her face and neck.

"In the early hours of 18 December 2015, a 52-year-old woman was violently raped in her home in Hertford by Parsons, who she considered to be a friend.  As part of the investigation, he was asked to provide a sample of DNA.  It was from this sample that a match was made with the DNA obtained from the neck of the 16-year-old girl 6-months earlier.

"Parsons is a sexual predator, who came to the UK in March 2013 after serving 13 years of a 17 year sentence in California for raping and sodomising a woman.  He was ordered to register as a sex offender for life. It is only due to the great courage of the victims that the despicable behaviour of this man has been exposed. I would like to pay tribute to them for their strength and tenacity in coming forward.

"Parsons denied any sexual wrongdoing or inappropriate conduct, but on 30 June 2016, at St Albans Crown Court, he was found guilty by a jury of assaulting the teenager occasioning actual bodily harm, falsely imprisoning her, making threats to kill her and committing an offence with the intention of committing a sexual offence after a 2-week trial despite his denials. He was found guilty of raping the woman in Hertford in December, but not guilty of raping the same woman in November 2015, and was also found guilty of failing to comply with sex offender notification requirements between 22 November and 19 December last year. At an earlier hearing, he had pleaded guilty to the same charge relating to the period between 01 May and 31 August last year.

"The convictions and today's sentence serve as an important message to people who have been the victim of crimes such as these, or those that know such crimes are being committed, that they should come forward so that the attackers can be brought to justice and others can be saved from this horrific ordeal. The CPS will work closely with partners, as we did with Hertfordshire Constabulary in this case, to ensure that robust criminal cases are put before the courts.

"The emotional impact on the victims of the abhorrent actions of this man is impossible to quantify. I hope that the convictions and today's sentence gives some small comfort to them.  Our thoughts are very much with them both at this time."

Detective Sergeant Alex Warwick said: "Thankfully the jury saw past Christopher Parsons' lies and convicted him of these serious crimes. He is clearly a dangerous man and our streets will be safer whilst he remains in prison.

"I would like to pay tribute to both victims who have been extremely brave in supporting the investigation and giving evidence against him.

"We know having to be physically present at court to give evidence is one of the main barriers for a victim of a sexual offence to supporting an investigation. For the first time in Hertfordshire use was made of video link to allow both victims in this case to give evidence in a building away from the court. For one of the victims, being in a different location to the offender in a protective and supported environment made a huge difference for her in being able to deliver her evidence.

"I would like to reassure anyone who has been a victim of any crime of this nature that we will do all we can to support them and this technology is a significant step forward in bringing offenders to justice and improving services to victims."

Judge Andrew Bright QC told Goodman: "You are a violent manipulative man who poses a serious danger to women. It is difficult to overstate the level of danger you pose to women and girls."  He went on to praise the bravery of the teenager and recommended her for a £500 High Sheriffs Award saying: "I want to praise the courage and fortitude of this 16-year-old girl. He was very much stronger and heavier than her. She fought like a tigress. I would like her to know I am filled with admiration for the way she behaved that night."