A man who raped a sex worker in a brutal knifepoint attack in Leeds has been jailed for ten years.
Leeds Crown Court heard how Anthony Riley attacked the 27-year-old victim on a grassed area off Bath Road, Holbeck, in November last year.
He dragged her to the ground by her hair and punched and kicked her before putting a knife to her throat and raping her.
He ran off after the attack, taking two mobile phones that had fallen out of the victim’s bra.
The victim ran from the scene and reported the incident to two police community support officers who were on patrol nearby. She described the suspect as wearing distinctive burgundy trousers.
Checks on the victim’s stolen phones showed that one had been used to send a text to a woman from someone using the name Tony.
Research on the name and the location of the offence identified Riley as a potential suspect.
He had been living in homeless hostel in Cemetery Road, Beeston, and enquiries there showed he had been wearing burgundy trousers on the day of the attack.
Riley, 24, was aware he was wanted by police and tried to evade officers but was found four days later hiding in a cupboard at his sister’s house in Harrogate.
Further checks on the stolen phones showed they had been used to call his sister’s address.
A pair of burgundy trousers and a piece of paper with a phone number on that one of the stolen phones had sent a text to were recovered when officers searched his flat at the hostel.
CCTV there also showed Riley returning to the hostel 20 minutes after the incident and changing his clothes, which included the burgundy trousers.
In interview he denied any involvement and then refused to answer questions when the evidence as put to him. The victim picked him out on a video identity parade.
He was charged with the offence and remanded in custody. Forensic analysis subsequently found both Riley’s and the victim’s DNA on the zip of the burgundy trousers.
During the trial, Riley claimed the sex has been consensual and he had paid the victim. He said she accused him of stealing her phones but he claimed he had returned to the scene a short time later and found them in the grass.
The jury found him guilty in a unanimous decision and he was sentenced to ten years in prison. As he was led from the dock he became violent and caused minor injuries to a dock officer and damaged a bench. As a result, the judge gave him a further six-month term for contempt of court.
Detective Superintendent Pat Twiggs, Head of Crime for the Leeds District, said: “Riley put the victim through an absolutely terrifying ordeal after deliberately targeting her as someone who was vulnerable and involved in sex work.
“He is clearly someone who poses a significant risk to the wider community and it is reassuring that he has received such a lengthy sentence.
“Riley was convicted at a retrial and the victim has shown a great deal of courage to give evidence during two trials. She was supported throughout by the investigation team, our own sex worker liaison officer and third sector agency Basis and I believe that without those combined efforts she may not have had the confidence to assist in getting this dangerous individual off the streets.
“We hope the professional and sensitive handling of this case will illustrate how seriously we treat all offences of this nature, regardless of the victim’s lifestyle. We also hope it will give others the confidence to come forward and report offences.”