Man jailed for rape - Reading

13/07/2012

A man was jailed for six-and-a-half years at Reading Crown Court on Wednesday, 11 July 2012, after being found guilty of rape.

Samuel Freeland, aged 23, formerly of Mason Street, Reading, was convicted and sentenced, after a six day trial.

The court heard how Freeland followed the victim, a 19-year-old woman, after spotting her in a town centre bar on 17 March last year, before taking her to his house and giving her some wine.  They had not met before the night of the incident.

Rossano Scarmadella, prosecuting counsel, put forward the likely scenario that Freeland put a crushed sleeping tablet, prescribed to him two days earlier, into the victim's wine before raping her.

The woman, now aged 20, could not remember much of what happened to her, but a toxicology expert gave evidence that the woman's blood alcohol level was more than twice the drink-drive limit, and that the effects of the alcohol would have increased when mixed with the sleeping tablet.

Baljit Ubhey OBE, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved the horrendous drugging and rape of a vulnerable young woman.

"The CPS takes all allegations of rape and sexual offences seriously and has specialist rape prosecutors who have expertise in dealing with sexual offences cases.  We work with the police and the courts to ensure that victims are given the best possible support during the court process.  Cases of rape and other serious sexual offences are among the most difficult cases that we deal with and need to be dealt with very sensitively.  We will continue to vigorously prosecute all such offenders and particularly those who target young and vulnerable victims.

"The sentence imposed recognises the seriousness of the offence and the vulnerability of the victim.

"I hope that this outcome gives some sense of closure to the victim and that she can now put this unpleasant episode behind her and move on with her life.  Our thoughts are very much with her at this time."

Detective Constable Pete Watts, investigating officer, said: "The victim was deliberately targeted by Freeland. His actions have been catastrophic for her and it is fortunate that she has had the unconditional support of her friends and family throughout her ordeal.  It is appropriate that we recognise both her bravery in facing the court and the dignity she has shown throughout the trial.

"This was not an easy case for the jury to decide upon and after more than nine hours of deliberation it is apparent that they carefully considered the evidence before convicting Freeland. Thames Valley Police carefully investigates every report of this nature, and where sufficient evidence exists the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) seeks a prosecution."