Bereaved woman raped by ‘friend’

York Crown Court
York Crown Court

A recently bereaved woman was left feeling “dirty and ruined” and even unable to go to church after being raped by a man she thought was her friend.

York Crown Court was told on Friday how the woman in her 30’s, whose partner had recently died, was imprisoned and attacked by John Edward Abbs 27, of Aberdeen Walk, on the night of September 6, last year.

Abbs, who was jailed for four years, was said by the judge to present a serious risk of causing serious harm to the public.

The court heard that the woman, who had turned to religion to help her get over her recent bereavement, no longer felt safe with friends or with attending her church since the attack.

Abbs, who has a form of autism, appeared before the court for sentencing, having previously admitted one charge each of assault and rape.

Alan Mitcheson, prosecuting, told how a chance meeting led to Abbs asking the woman, who he had known for some time, back to his flat.

There he tried to persuade her to pose topless for photographs, prevented her from leaving and, despite her repeatedly saying “no”, went on to assault and rape her.

The court heard that Abbs was to tell the police that he had “misread the signals”, believing, that despite the woman saying “no”, she was a willing participant.

Mr Mitcheson said that Abbs has a criminal record which included conviction for indecent assault and warnings for the harassment of several women.

Louise Revell, mitigating, said that her client, who has difficulties dealing with social situations, understood that he was going to receive a custodial sentence.

Adding that his best mitigation had been his early admissions, Mrs Revell said that Abbs was himself “somewhat vulnerable”.

Jailing Abbs for four years, Judge Guy Kearl QC said that his actions against a victim who herself had problems, had had a serious effect on her.

He added that Abbs presented a serious risk of causing serious harm to the public.

Abbs was also placed under a Sexual Offences Prevention Order to keep him away from his victim, placed on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely and disqualified from working with vulnerable adults.