Man jailed for raping and assaulting a woman - Luton

04/09/2014

A man who beat up and twice raped a woman he knew in Luton was jailed for 8 and a half years today, Thursday, 04 September 2014.

Pearce McGonagle, aged 28, had punched the victim to the ground in the street and kicked her in the head in a drink and drug-fuelled attack the previous night. She was released from hospital the following morning and was asleep at home when McGonagle banged on the window of her flat.

Luton Crown Court heard that once inside he punched her a number of times to the head, causing bruising to the left eye. He squeezed her neck, put a pillow over her face, and threatened to kill her. He then raped her twice within five minutes. The terrified woman fled to a neighbour who raised the alarm.

McGonagle of Hitchin Road, Luton denied two charges of rape, but was convicted by a jury. He pleaded guilty to causing the woman actual bodily harm (ABH) at the start of his trial. The offences happened on 14 April 2013.

Defence Barrister David Povall handed the judge four references that he said showed McGonagle had acted out of character. "Those who know Pearce McGonagle best as work mates and family members say it is extremely difficult to reconcile the young man they know with this case," he said. He said the rape was a "matter of belief, but unreasonable belief" by McGonagle.

Jailing him, Judge Stuart Bridge said: "You forced yourself on her in her home. You punched her about the face. You knew she was vulnerable and had sex with her not once, but twice. You wholly lost self-control. You may still have been affected by the drugs and drink you had taken the night before." The judge said that as a result of the attack the victim had suffered depression and had to leave her home.

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