A man has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for the brutal rape and assault of a woman in Bournemouth’s Lower Gardens last year.
The incident took place on 13 November 2019 at around 5.40am. The victim, a woman in her 40s, was walking to work through the Lower Gardens when Luke Alan West, 29 years-old, from Durley Chine, approached her from behind. After grabbing her around the neck he physically assaulted and raped her.
She was discovered by members of the public at around 6.10am, suffering from significant injuries to her face, neck, arms, and chest, including a fractured eye socket, and was taken to hospital, where she reported having been raped by the man during the attack.
Dorset Police mounted a major investigation into the attack. Extensive reviews of CCTV footage from the area enabled them to identify a suspect, seen near the Lower Gardens just before the attack and running away soon afterwards.
CCTV footage of Luke West.
Police arrested a man fitting the suspect’s profile on Thursday 14 November 2019 in Commercial Road, Bournemouth. Despite initially providing police with a false name, he was arrested and confirmed to be the man the police were hunting.
DNA evidence, combined with the CCTV footage, linked West to the crimes sufficiently for police to arrest him and charge him with rape on Saturday 16 November 2019.
Detective Inspector Wayne Seymour, of Dorset Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team (MCIT), said: “This was a despicable offence, which saw Luke West subject his victim not only to a terrifying sexual attack but also a brutal physical assault.
“While it can be of little consolation to the victim in this case, thankfully incidents of this nature are extremely rare in this area and I am grateful to all the officers and police staff who worked tirelessly on this investigation so that we were able to swiftly identify West as the suspect and apprehend him.
“Finally, I would like to praise the victim for the incredible bravery she has shown in supporting the investigation. She has been through a truly horrific ordeal and for her to have shown the courage to give evidence at trial and help bring this dangerous offender to justice, I hope will inspire others who have been subjected to such terrible offences and help give them the strength to come forward.”