Man jailed for hotel rape of girl - Luton

15/09/2014

A man, who took a 12-year-old girl to a hotel where he raped her three times, was jailed today, Monday, 15 September 2014, for 10 years.

Supermarket worker Ashley Bowerman, aged 22, booked into a Premier Inn with the girl, who wore make-up and false eyelashes to make herself look older.

Bowerman, who has Aspergers syndrome, of Farrier Way, Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, pleaded guilty to three charges of rape of a child under 13. He said he believed the girl was 16 and told the court he "felt sick" when told of the girl's true age. But, after viewing images of the girl, watching her police interview and reading statements from people who saw her on the night, Judge Barbara Mensah said Bowerman could not have reasonably believed she was 16.

Prosecutor Neil King told Luton Crown Court that the girl was 12 years and 2 months at the time. He had been in contact with her since December 2012 when she was aged 11 years and 11 months. Then on 23 March 2013, he took her to the Premier Inn in Luton where they checked in as Mr and Mrs Bowerman. She got  drunk, and at one point was carried back inside the hotel by Bowerman. He took inappropriate pictures of her when she was unconscious or asleep.

The police were called by the girl's concerned parents and they tracked them to the hotel. When officers arrived they found the girl drunk and a nearly empty bottle of Jack Daniels.

Henry Day, defending, said Bowerman was 20 at the time of the offences and had no previous convictions. He said he had difficulties in his life with his Aspergers condition and had suffered bullying in the past. He said he would find custody "traumatic and difficult"" He handed the court letters from people who spoke highly of him.

Judge Barbara Mensah said aggravating features were the fact that he did not stop the girl drinking, had to carry her back into the hotel drunk and that he had taken "two intimate, explicit photos."

The judge told him: "She was drunk and incapable. She was particularly vulnerable. She was underage, you knew she was underage. The offence has had a massive effect on her. It has affected her relationship with her family. You totally took advantage of her."

Bowerman cried in the dock as the sentence was passed. He must register as a Sex Offender on the Sex Offenders' Register indefinitely.

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