A British man has been sentenced to five years and four months in prison for raping a woman in her home while she slept. The convict, 27-year-old Richard Thomas, was notified that he may have contracted HIV from his victim.
According to reports, Thomas had been drinking heavily, as well as using cocaine and ecstasy at various points during the evening, and could not recall much from the attack. However, he said he knew the woman was ill but did not know it could be HIV. Police said Thomas let himself into the woman’s home uninvited and went into the bedroom where he then assaulted her as she slept. The woman had taken a sleeping tablet and awoke to find Thomas raping her.
Thomas collapsed when he was told about the possibility of being infected with HIV. His lawyer, Virginia Hayton, said that Thomas was unsure of the events of the night but believed the woman’s story. It was not immediately clear whether Thomas knew his victim before the assault. The lawyer added that Thomas was agonizing over the night’s events, and he is remorseful and cannot understand why he did it, and it is troubling him.
The prosecutor in the case, Harry Pepper, said that “she froze and no words were exchanged. He pulled up his shorts and left.” Judge Mark Brown ordered that Thomas be sentenced to five years and four months and placed him on the Sex Offenders Register for the “dreadful offense.”
Hayton noted that Thomas has a long history with drugs and alcohol, having started to use cannabis at age 9 and then drinking by 11. Thomas also said he was addicted to cocaine and ecstasy at 13 and received treatment for the addictions during his teenage years.
Thomas has previous convictions but none for sexual assault or rape. Despite his addiction issues, the fact remains that he committed a serious offense, and the judge’s decision to give him a lengthy sentence was justified. The fact that he may have contracted HIV as a result of his behavior should serve as a stark reminder that there are consequences to one’s actions, and they can have long-lasting and severe effects.
Hayton offered little condolences to Thomas, saying that the HIV test “has been hanging over his head. It’s his own fault. If he’d not committed this offense, he would not have placed himself in this position.” It’s a tragic situation all around, but it serves as a reminder of the importance of taking responsibility for one’s actions and the impact they have on others.
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