Man jailed over sexual assault which turned victim’s life ‘upside down’
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A Bedford man who sexually assaulted a woman as she slept has been jailed for four years.
James Stark, 25, was found guilty of assault by penetration over the incident in August 2017.
Stark, of West Rope Way, was out drinking with friends in Bedford and went back in a taxi to the victim’s home address.
After talking for a while, the victim went upstairs to bed, leaving Stark on the sofa. Shortly after, she was awoken by Stark, who was on top of her, and she pleaded with him to stop.
He fled the property, leaving behind his trousers, hat, mobile and passport at the victim’s house. He was arrested later that morning at his home.
The victim had gone straight to her mum and disclosed what had happened. In her victim statement she said that Stark’s actions had “turned her life upside down” and that her mental health had suffered.
Following a trial in December, the jury did not find Stark guilty of raping the woman, but they did find him guilty of the alternative charge of assault by penetration.
Yesterday (Monday) at Luton Crown Court, Stark was sentenced to spend four years in prison. He will also be added to the sex offenders register for life.
DC Brendan Street, who led the investigation, said: “I would like to commend the victim for her bravery in coming forward. She was amazing throughout the trial and continued to support the investigation despite a number of trial delays.
“I would also like to praise her family who attended every day of trial and sentencing. Stark’s actions have not only had a significant impact on the victim, but also had a negative impact on her family.
“Stark subjected his victim to a horrible ordeal; no woman should ever be made to feel unsafe. Our message to offenders is clear: no will always mean no.
“We have a number of highly trained officers and support services working with the victim and her family.
“We understand this can be difficult to talk about, but we have a number of highly experienced and trained officers and support services here to help. If you are ready to talk, we are here to listen, help, and support you.”
Police have a significant focus on tackling perpetrators of male violence against women and girls (MVAWG), and as a force, Bedfordshire Police are working with our partners to support and improve women’s safety across the county.
You can report any instance of rape or sexual assault to us by calling 101, or 999 in an emergency. You can also report online or visit our advice pages for more information.
If you feel unable to report to the police, you can still seek help by contacting Bedfordshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), the Emerald Centre.
If you can share your experiences and views with us, you will be helping to inform our police approach to tackling male violence against women and girls. Complete the survey.