A NELSON man who raped a teenage girl as she walked home from a night out in Burnley has been jailed for 12 years.
Lee Reilly (22), of Dover Street, appeared at Preston Crown Court yesterday where he was sentenced to 12 years, including an extended licence period. He was found guilty of rape and sexual assault following a two-week trial.
Reilly approached the 17-year-old as she walked through Burnley town centre around 3-30am on Sunday, March 4th. He spoke to her and offered to walk with her before leading her away from the town centre where he threatened and sexually assaulted her. He then forced her behind a disused garage where he raped her. Following the rape, he forced her to stay with him and walked back into the town centre. On seeing other members of the public, she immediately alerted them and the police were called. Reilly walked away from the group and was arrested a short time later in the town centre.
DC Karen Edwards, who works as part of Operation Focus, a specialist team of detectives dedicated to investigating sexual assaults, said: “This has been a truly shocking case. At no point whatsoever has Reilly shown any remorse. He has forced the young victim to relive this horrific experience by having to attend court and give evidence.
“This result is testament to the immense courage she has shown throughout the investigation and subsequent trial.
“This was a calculated and premeditated attack on a vulnerable girl. He is a dangerous man and I welcome today’s sentence.
“I hope the sentence of this predator will reassure the public that offences of this nature will not only be thoroughly and professionally investigated, but those responsible will face substantial custodial sentences.”
The sentencing comes during a special police operation codenamed Nexus, which is aimed at reducing sexual assaults, while ensuring victims feel reassured enough to come forward and report incidents to the police.
DC Edwards added: “This is an important campaign aimed at highlighting the steps people can take to make them less vulnerable. This will mean they are at less risk of becoming a victim of sexual assault, along with other types of crime.
“We hope that by making more information available to people they will feel more confident about coming forward and making a report.
“We treat reports of rape and sexual assault very seriously and we thoroughly investigate every case. Every effort will be made to give the victim the help and support they need during our investigations, through any judicial process that takes place and beyond – and we are backed by a number of different agencies in order to do this.”
Anyone who wishes to report a sexual assault can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency always dial 999.