Man jailed for 8 years for rape of teen

A SEX attacker who raped a teenager as she walked home from an Essex nightclub has been jailed for eight years.Paul Clare, 43, had knocked the terrified 16-year old girl to the ground before raping her in an alleyway in Braintree, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

A SEX attacker who raped a teenager as she walked home from an Essex nightclub has been jailed for eight years.

Paul Clare, 43, had knocked the terrified 16-year old girl to the ground before raping her in an alleyway in Braintree, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Sentencing Clare, Judge John Devaux said that when the girl finally managed to escape, she had been in a distressed state, covered in mud, cut and bleeding, with her clothes in disarray.

He said there had been a degree of premeditation and planning in the attack.

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“It was just this woman's bad luck that it was her you chose”, said the judge.

He said that in 1992 Clare, who was born in the UK but spent 20 years living in Australia, had been convicted of a sex-related burglary in Australia.

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On that occasion, he had been found hiding in the wardrobe at a woman's house and was found to be armed with a knife and had with him a vibrator, condoms and sexual lubricants. The following year he had been convicted of a sex-related bomb hoax, also in Australia.

Judge Devaux said he was aware that a number of women had made allegations against Clare and these had been considered by another judge at a hearing before Clare's recent rape trial.

He said on that occasion the judge had ruled that the evidence of these potential witnesses should not be used during the trial and he was therefore unable to pay any attention to it when sentencing Clare.

He said a psychiatrist who had prepared a report on the defendant was unable to predict the risk he would represent to the public in the future.

Judge Devaux said although there was “deeply troubling information” about Clare in papers he had read there was no solid foundation which would enable him to pass a longer sentence than eight years.

In addition to jailing Clare for eight years minus the 563 days he had served on remand, Judge Devaux ordered him to sign on the sex offenders' register for life. He said Clare would serve two thirds of the eight-year sentence before being considered eligible for parole.

Clare, of Little Hallingbury, near Bishops Stortford, denied raping the teenager in the early hours of November 20 2004, but was found guilty by a jury after a trial in March. Sentence was adjourned until yesterday.

During the trial the court heard that Clare approached the victim as she left Chicago's nightclub at Freeport in Braintree. Clare had offered to walk with her and had tried to kiss her.

The teenager rejected his advances and told him he was too old for her. However, Clare had forced her to the ground in an alleyway and put his hand over her mouth, making it difficult for her to breathe.

At one stage the terrified girl had managed to break free and run away but Clare had caught up with her and raped her.

Christopher Kinch for Clare, said he would not be offering any mitigation about the offence as he was bound by his instructions from Clare.

He accepted that the rape had “extremely unattractive” elements about it but said it lacked specific aggravating features which would mean Clare serving a much longer sentence.

Mr Kinch said Clare had expressed a willingness to take part in programmes while he was in prison which would help him stay out of trouble on his release.

After the case, relatives of the victim declined to comment.

However, Detective Superintendent Colin Steele of Essex Police, who led the investigation, said: “The last two years have been a traumatic time for the young woman attacked by Clare, and I am pleased that the sentence that has been passed down reflects the severity of the crime committed.

“The victim has had to give evidence in court twice, and has shown admirable strength and resilience.

“She can at least now spend time recovering with her family knowing Clare is safely locked up.”

He expressed his thanks to the Australian Embassy in this country and the police authorities in Perth for their help with the investigation which involved a team of officers from the UK travelling to Perth.

After he was found guilty of the rape in March, the EADT revealed that Clare had been a suspect in an unsolved Australian serial killer investigation after three infamous murders in 1996 and 1997.

Then a driver in Australia, Clare was identified in 1999 as a “person of interest” in relation to the trio of murders known as the Claremont serial killings.

When Essex Police travelled to Australia as part of their recent investigation, detectives there showed particular attention to the way he carried out the Braintree rape. The victims in the Claremont serial killings had also been attacked after leaving nightclubs.

He was never charged with any offence in relation to the crimes.

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