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A man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for the kidnap and rape of a teenage girl in Chester.
Joshua Hughes, of no fixed address, grabbed the 15-year-old near to Grosvenor Park and dragged her to a nearby secluded location where he raped her.
Today, Monday 5 July, the 27-year-old appeared at Chester Crown Court to receive his sentence after he was found guilty of kidnap and rape on Thursday 10 June following a four-day trial.
On sentencing Hughes, Judge Berkson said: “On that night it is clear from the evidence that your intention was to kidnap a girl to have sex with.
“You are indeed the predatory rapist the jury found you to be and have shown no remorse for your behaviour.”
Judge Berkson also commented on the “immense amount of police work” that had taken place and said that the victim in this case “suffered severely from these events” and he hoped the sentence would bring some closure for her and her family.
Hughes was sentenced to 18 years in prison with a further seven years on licence.
He will also be on the sex offenders register and have a sexual harm prevention order when released from jail.
The incident took place at around 8.20pm on Saturday 31 October 2020. The victim and her two friends were walking up the steps near to the suspension bridge towards the city centre when they were approached by Hughes.
Hughes put his arm around the victim’s neck and pulled her away to a nearby location, where he committed the rape and then climbed over a wall and fled the scene.
The victim’s friends ran for help, one of them called 999 and alerted other members of the public. Officers quickly arrived at the scene and located the victim, ensuring that she received the support and care needed.
Detectives launched a complex investigation including forensics, extensive CCTV and numerous witness enquiries.
From these enquiries Hughes was identified as a suspect and arrested on Wednesday 4 November 2020.
Detective Chief Inspector Justin Hancock from Cheshire Constabulary’s Western Crime Unit, said: “Joshua Hughes subjected a 15-year-old girl to a truly horrendous ordeal that night. He grabbed her while she was out with her friends in public and, despite her desperate pleas for him to let her go, he continued to drag her away where she feared for her life.
“The quick thinking of her friend to call 999 ensured a swift police response so that vital evidence was preserved.
“I would like to thank the victim for the strength and bravery she has shown throughout the investigation and to thank the young witnesses who gave evidence to help secure his conviction.
“Hughes has rightly been given a significant sentence and will also be on the sex offenders’ register.
“Upon his release from prison a sexual harm prevention order will be placed upon him, both of which will remain in place for life.“
DCI Hancock added: “These types of offences are extremely rare. Hughes is a dangerous and predatory criminal and I hope that the sentence gives the public some reassurance that justice has been served and that Chester remains a safe place to live and enjoy.”