Anger as rapist is set free to attack again

LOCKED UP David Sutherland was jailed at Portsmouth Crown Court by, inset, Judge Richard Price
LOCKED UP David Sutherland was jailed at Portsmouth Crown Court by, inset, Judge Richard Price

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HE WAS let out into the community even though the authorities knew he was dangerous.

And five days later sex offender David Sutherland tried to rape a 19-year-old woman on Christmas Eve.

Judge Richard Price

Judge Richard Price

Despite a probation report assessing the 24-year-old as a high risk to the public, he had served his five-year sentence for previous offences including rape and had to be set free.

Released on licence, Sutherland had to stick to conditions, including a curfew and staying at a bail hostel in Trinity Street, Fareham, but that could not stop him ruining another young woman’s life.

As she waited for a lift in the car park in Civic Centre Way, near Fareham Borough Council’s offices, Sutherland offered her money before attacking her.

He told her he had a knife, pinned her to the ground and strangled her until she agreed to do what he wanted.

When he let her get up she continued to struggle and he only stopped when two women interrupted the assault.

In prison, Sutherland had completed a sex offender’s course and an advanced sex offender’s course but nothing helped change his ways.

Now he has been jailed indefinitely at Portsmouth Crown Court and told he will not be released for at least seven years.

Even then he will only get out if he is considered safe.

Reacting to the news that the attack came just days after his release Kim Hosier, from the Portsmouth Area Rape Crisis Service, said: ‘It leaves me very concerned that he was considered dangerous and released but what other options did these services have?

‘You have got prison or being in the community and clearly there needs to be another option. I imagine there will be lots of anger about the fact this man was in the community.

‘Thank goodness he has been picked up and re-sentenced but that’s not much comfort for her.’

She added: ‘If somebody is determined I’m not sure what could have been done to prevent it.

‘While for many people rehabilitation programmes can be useful how do you assess whether they have actually been successful?

‘Obviously what’s happened has devastated this young woman.’

Mary Bridgman, manager of Treetops, which helps victims of sexual assault in Hampshire, said: ‘It is our position that victims of sexual assault are the victims of someone else’s actions and cannot be held responsible for these.

‘Such attacks leave victims with physical and emotional scars that may never heal and it’s only right that perpetrators are made to account for their criminal actions.’

Judge and police praise girl’s bravery

JUDGE Richard Price has praised the bravery of the teenager who fought off violent sex attacker David Sutherland.

Sutherland has been jailed indefinitely for trying to rape the 19-year-old in Fareham just days after he was released from prison.

Judge Price said: ‘You accosted this young woman in a car park on Christmas Eve.

‘You offered her money and she refused and you then threatened to stab her and although you didn’t produce any weapon you had your hand in your pocket in such a way that she believed that you had a knife.

‘You physically put her to the ground.

‘You put your hands around her throat until she said she would do what you wanted.

‘She fought you very bravely. She believed you were armed with a knife.

‘She fought you in a very determined and spirited way.

‘She is an extremely brave young woman. By the greatest good fortune other people were in the vicinity, you heard them and you ran away.’

The court heard victim impact statements from the woman and her father.

Judge Price said: ‘The affect on her has been dramatic. You have utterly destroyed this young woman’s confidence and you have had a serious effect on this young woman’s family. You will not be released until you are regarded as safe. You may not be released for the rest of your life if you are not regarded as safe.’

Outside court Detective Constable Pete Lavin, who led the investigation, echoed the judge’s praise for the victim.

He said: ‘She had just finished work and was looking forward to Christmas with her family.

‘She was viciously attacked and subjected to a terrifying ordeal.

‘She acted extremely bravely. Her family are extremely proud of her and she should be extremely proud of herself.’

HISTORY OF OFFENDING

AT THE age of just 24 David Sutherland already has a long list of convictions for sexual offences.

In December 2005 he was jailed for five-and-a-half-years at Winchester Crown Court.

His first offence came in 2002, when he was 15, and he carried out a series of attacks before he was caught three years later.

Sutherland was jailed for two counts of rape, two sexual assaults and four sexual offences.

The victims included a girl as young as 12 up to a woman in her 40s.

For each attack his method was usually the same. He would approach a girl or woman in a park, offer her money for sex and then force himself on her, often using violence.

Five days after his release Sutherland struck again in the car park in Civic Centre Way, near Fareham Borough Council’s offices.