March 2018

Man who raped teenager jailed

A MAN raped a teenager as she tried to sleep off a hangover following a night out drinking.

James Ridley took advantage as the teenage girl began to doze off to sleep.

Although Durham Crown Court heard she awoke, she froze “in terror” and pretended to be still sleeping.

Following the attack, Ridley, himself, fell asleep and the victim rang a friend saying she needed her help.

A work colleague was also spoken to and police were notified, arresting Ridley, who claimed he believed the sex was consensual.

Ridley, 29, of Hawthorn Crescent, Horden, repeated that account during a trial last month, but a jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict after a three-day hearing. He was cleared, however, of a further sexual assault on the woman.

Trial judge, Simon Hickey, told him he had been convicted, “on clear evidence”, and remanded Ridley in custody after the hearing to allow a background probation report to be prepared.

Lorraine Mustard, mitigating, told the sentencing hearing that the defendant is not considered to be a “high risk” of further similar offending.

Jailing him for eight years, Judge Hickey imposed a restraining order preventing Ridley contacting the woman for 15 years, while he will be subject to sex offender registration for life.