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A man's been jailed for seven years for raping 19 year old woman at gunpoint in a park in Loughborough back in February.
18 year old Adam Willis of Wordsworth Road will also be on the sex offences register for life - police've described the circumstances of the attack as "very disturbing".
He pleaded guilty to rape and possessing a gun back in July - after an investigation following the attack that happened in a park back in February.
DCI Neil Castle, who led the investigation, said: “We recovered DNA from the scene of the incident and we believed it belonged to the attacker. This was extremely useful to us as it meant we could then eliminate people from our enquiries.
“We’d identified through CCTV footage, a number of people who were in the area shortly before and after the assault took place. We needed to trace these people as they were potentially key witnesses. Many looked young and therefore we targeted the student population both at Loughborough University and Loughborough College. We released a video appeal through YouTube which featured the footage of our key witnesses. The University, College and Students Union shared this with their student population and it was our hope that someone would recognise themselves and come forward to assist our investigation.
“Local press and television ran stories and it was in one local paper that our suspect, and close family members, recognised himself. This lead to his arrest and the DNA obtained from him matched that recovered from the crime scene.
“We have to thank all those people and organisations who helped us with our appeal. They have played an instrumental part in obtaining this young woman justice today.
“The circumstances of this crime were always very disturbing. Not just the sexual assault but the fact he used a firearm as a threat. We can only imagine what fear this young woman must have felt during all of this. Willis’s decision to plead guilty means she won’t have to face him and relive the ordeal in court but she will be dealing with the impact of his actions for a long time. His actions have devastated a number of people’s lives.”
“DCI Castle added: “We would encourage anyone, child or adult, who has been the victim of a sexual assault to tell someone. If you don’t want to report it to police personally, tell a trusted adult or friend who can report it on your behalf. This will enable us to not only try to identify the offender, but also ensure that you are provided with the appropriate help and support.”
Following the sentencing of Adam Willis significant witness, Jane*, said: “Throughout the investigation and the court process the police, the witness care team and the Crown Prosecution Service all offered me support and reassurance and I would encourage anyone else who has been in a similar situation to mine to come forward and contact the police so they can offer support and try to bring them justice.
“I would encourage people to really be aware of their surroundings when they are walking alone at night. Don’t do silly things like walk through dark alleyways - you know you shouldn’t but you still do. You never think it will happen to you but it might.
“This incident has had such an effect on so many areas of my life it is difficult to put it into words. It is often the simplest, smallest things which I now find most difficult, like going out on my own in the dark.
“For a few weeks after it happened I was quite withdrawn around my friends and it was not something I spoke about with anyone. You feel ashamed.
“It has been hard on my parents as they worry about me a lot more now than they used to and I am a lot less confident around new people than I used to be.
“My exams also took quite a beating – I could not work because I could not concentrate. It is there with me every day.
“But as time has gone on it has got better and I have made a real effort to move on from it because I do not want it to affect me for the rest of my life. I don’t want to still be hung up on this in 20-years time.
“I don’t feel any malice towards his family. This is not their fault and I know they are going through a tough time too.”
*This is not her real name. Her name has been changed to protect her identity.