St Leonards man jailed for rape

A 55-year-old man from St Leonards-on-Sea who raped a woman in Gosport in 2016 has been jailed for seven years, Hampshire Constabulary has said.

Police said the victim reported the rape in November 2020 and has been supported by specialist officers.

Mark Anthony Roberts of Stonebeach Rise, St Leonards-on-Sea, was interviewed under caution and later charged, police said.

Hampshire Constabulary said Roberts was sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday, May 20, to seven years in prison for rape.

Hampshire Constabulary said a man from St Leonards-on-Sea has been sentenced to seven years in prison

He will also have to sign the sex offenders register for life, police said.

They said the judge described the victim as ‘heroic’ for coming forward and reporting the non-recent offence.

DC Marie Harding, from the Operation Amberstone team, said: “It takes a great deal of courage for anyone who has been the victim of rape or sexual assault to come forward and report the matter to Police.

"I want to commend the bravery of this woman for telling officers what had happened to her a number of years beforehand and for supporting this investigation through to court.

“She is keen that her experience can inspire others who have been the victim of similar offences to come forward.

"Even if there is a delay in reporting, there can still be a chance to secure a conviction.

“Our specialist officers will investigate thoroughly and will seek justice wherever possible.

“The man responsible in this case has now rightly been brought to justice and can’t harm another person while he serves his prison sentence.

“We take allegations of sexual offences incredibly seriously, and do everything in our power to support victims and bring perpetrators to justice. We also work closely with a number of support agencies who provide specialist help to those who need it.”

DC Harding encouraged anyone who has been affected by this type of crime to contact police on 101 where they will be able to speak to a specially trained officer in confidence.

She added that people who have been affected by sexual abuse can visit for details on how to report this and where to seek support.