Karate champion jailed for rape

By James HoreA KARATE coach has told of his shock after one of his former pupils was jailed for four years for raping a teenager while on holiday.Bradley Hopper, 19, a British karate champion, from Tendring, near Clacton, was sent to prison after pleading guilty to raping an 18-year-old in Australia.

By James Hore

A KARATE coach has told of his shock after one of his former pupils was jailed for four years for raping a teenager while on holiday.

Bradley Hopper, 19, a British karate champion, from Tendring, near Clacton, was sent to prison after pleading guilty to raping an 18-year-old in Australia.

The West Australian District Court dismissed Hopper's plea for leniency after he claimed his dyslexia and “alcohol-diminished mental state” had made it difficult to interpret the social cues of his victim.


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Speaking after the sentence, Hopper's former trainer Stuart Elkin said he was totally shocked about his former pupil's crime.

Mr Elkin, head coach at the Clacton Shotokan Karate Club, added: “I couldn't imagine him doing that - it took me right by surprise.

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“He was ever so friendly during the four or five years I trained him. I couldn't say a bad word against him and I have never known him to be in any trouble of any sort.”

Hopper had joined the club as a yellow belt and rose to black belt before his ability lead him to a place on the British team. He also trained for a while at the Ipswich Caribbean Karate Club.

“He stopped training with us about a year to 18 months ago when he went to train with Ticky Donovan, the national coach,” added Mr Elkin.

Mr Donovan said he could not comment yesterday, but the English Karate Governing Body issued a statement.

It said: “The governing body had been made aware that a serious allegation had been made against this individual.

“In light of advice sought and obtained by the governing body from independent sources, he was excluded from the national squad pending the outcome of any criminal proceedings.

“We should like to make it clear that the governing body, along with all right-thinking people, abhors any crimes involving force.”

The West Australian District Court heard Hopper had met the woman, a university student, outside a Perth nightclub in October on the last day of his Australian holiday. He agreed to walk her to a cab, but then attacked her.

The prosecution said Hopper's arguments about his alcohol-diminished mental state rang “a little hollow” given that the woman had cried throughout the ordeal and had begged him to stop.

Marina Georgevic, prosecuting, told the Perth court: “This wasn't some subliminal social gesture.”

Defence lawyer Max Crispe asked Chief Judge Kevin Hammond to consider Hopper's youth, his remorse, his IQ of 77 and his sporting future as a member of the British karate team when he sentenced him.

“I think his sporting prowess is a matter of some significance,” Mr Crispe told the court.

But the judge said: “The offender was determined to pursue his goals, even though it must have been absolutely, abundantly clear to him that the complainant was resisting his attack.”

He added Hopper would have faced a six-year jail sentence had he not entered an early guilty plea and voluntarily returned to Perth for sentencing.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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