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Two men guilty of rape in Brighton city centre

|News, Sexual offences

Two men have been found guilty of raping and sexually assaulting a woman in Brighton. Ashley Lewis and Dylan Holden acted together, taking advantage of a 17-year-old woman who was so intoxicated she was unable to walk without assistance.

Dylan Holden, 18, who was known to the victim, was found guilty of raping and sexually assaulting the woman in the gardens of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton in June 2021. He sent the victim text messages after the attack, feigning concern for her and claiming he had tried to protect her. 

Described in court by prosecutor Miss Beckett as a “sexual predator”, Ashley Lewis, 35, travelled down to Brighton from London on the day of the offence and spent part of the afternoon covertly filming women on the beach, before meeting the 17-year-old victim on the beach and jointly attacking her with Holden. The attack took place in Pavilion Gardens. After the victim was assaulted, Mr Lewis stole her bag, which contained her mobile phone, bank cards and purse.

The pair had not met each other before that day, but DNA evidence linked both men to the attack. 

Hove Crown Court heard that the victim had been chatting to friends on Brighton beach, but remembered nothing further about the evening. Passers-by saw the attack and intervened, taking her home in a taxi. 

Lewis then went on to sexually assault another 17-year-old woman at a religious event in central London in October, who challenged him and held onto him to prevent him from leaving. He pushed her away, before being stopped and arrested by police. Lewis was convicted of a sexual assault and assault by beating.

A CPS spokesperson said: “Lewis acted as a sexual predator that day, first filming women covertly on Brighton beach, before targeting the victim, who was too drunk to consent to any sexual activity. 

“Holden took advantage of a woman who thought he was her friend in a gross breach of her trust, but he went on to lie to her afterwards, pretending he had tried to help her, while she was trying to piece together the events of the evening 

“The truth was he took advantage of her, alongside Lewis, with both of them targeting a woman who was too drunk to consent to any sexual activity. 

“Each defendant had denied what they had done, choosing to blame the other, but our case was clear – that they were both involved in a joint attack. 

“The fact that Lewis went on to sexually assault a woman in London just a few months later shows what a danger he poses to women. 

“We hope that these convictions bring some comfort to the victims in this case.” 

Notes to editors

  • Ashley Lewis [DOB: 01/02/1986] was convicted following a trial at Lewes Crown Court of the following charges relating to the attack on the woman in Brighton in June 2021: 
    • Rape or attempted rape 
    • Sexual assault 
    • Theft of the victim’s backpack, which was found at his home 
  • In addition, he was also convicted of the following offence: 
    • Sexual assault and assault by beating on a woman in London in October 2021 
  • Lewis also pleaded guilty to voyeurism - relating to filming women on Brighton beach earlier in the day of the attack – during his trial. 
  • Dylan Holden was convicted of the following offences: 
    • Rape or attempted rape 
    • Sexual assault 
  • Rachel Beckett is a Senior Crown Advocate with CPS South East.

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