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Courageous sexual assault victim sees “predator” jailed after plea change

28 Oct 2020

A man already serving 12 years for rape was jailed for a further two years last week and branded a “sexual predator” after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a woman in Dunstable.

Ryan Ricketts, 28, of Outmore Road, Birmingham, initially denied the charges but changed his plea on Monday 19 October, on the first day of what was set to be a five-day trial at Luton Crown Court.

On 30 December 2017, Ricketts travelled to Dunstable for a night out with friends. The group returned home and Ricketts was given a place to stay on the sofa.

When the victim was asleep upstairs Ricketts entered the bedroom and sexually assaulted her, preying on her intoxicated state. The victim managed to eventually fight him off and alert others in the house. But Rickett’s denied his actions.

After a three-year investigation by our force, which also found Ricketts was on bail for rape at the time of this attack, he was charged with two counts of sexual assault by penetration, two counts of sexual assault and one count of inciting engagement in a sexual activity.

At Luton Crown Court, His Honour Judge Recorder Peter Guest branded Ricketts’ behaviour as that of a “sexual predator” and immediately sentenced him to two years for each offence, to be served concurrently. This time will be added to Ricketts’ current sentence, extending his custody by two years. He was also sentenced to a further ten years on the sex offenders register.

Speaking out about finding the courage to report the attack, the victim said: “The thought of him doing something to another woman, if I had not reported him, would have killed me.

“I know now that none of it was my fault, but at the time, I was blaming myself. I felt disgusting, it made me feel so dirty. I started to think maybe I could have protected myself or reacted quicker. It has been awful to see the people in my life so upset and traumatised by hearing what happened to me. I wanted justice for what he did and for him to see how he has affected me, and the other people close to me.”

Detective Constable Lesley Horton, who investigated, said: “Ricketts had the audacity to enter a bedroom and exploit the intoxicated state of this woman, in a house full of people.

“He sexually abused her, continuing despite her saying no, and subjected her to a humiliating and terrifying assault. He then went on to put her through three years of hell with his constant denial of guilt.

“I must thank this brave woman for finding the courage to report Ricketts’ actions and staying on board throughout this complex investigation, which was delayed by circumstances surrounding Ricketts’ existing imprisonment, and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.”

Detective Inspector Michelle Lack, of the RASSO team, which investigates rape and serious sexual offences, said: “Pursing sex with someone who is asleep or incapable of giving their consent because they have been drinking is a crime.

“If something has happened to you, please let us know. We will do all we can to support you, and investigate so that perpetrators are made to pay for their actions.”

Victims of rape and sexual assault can receive support and guidance from our force and partner agencies, including the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), as well as support through the criminal investigation process.

Reports of sexual assault, even if non-recent, can be made to the police by calling 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.

You can also contact Bedfordshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) the Emerald Centre, by visiting the emerald centre or by emailing alternatively calling 01234 842750.

If you have been affected by crime, the Signpost Hub offers free and confidential support to victims in Bedfordshire, whether it has been reported to police or not, and irrespective of where and when the crime occurred.

Contact 0800 0282887 or visit Signpost for Bedfordshire for further information

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