Soldier brutally raped, humiliated and cruelly attacked vulnerable woman in Leeds city centre as he celebrated his 18th birthday
A soldier brutally raped and humiliated a vulnerable woman in Leeds city centre as he celebrated his 18th birthday.
Jack Connolly was given an extended sentence of 18-year after a court heard shocking details of how he subjected her to a prolonged and degrading sex attack.
The teenager targeted the victim in the early hours of October 5, 2019 - the day of his 18th birthday.
Leeds Crown Court heard Connolly had travelled from the army base at Catterick with his colleagues to celebrate his birthday.
Jurors heard how he preyed upon the woman after becoming separated from his friends in the early hours of the morning.
Connolly spoke to the woman and was friendly towards her before turning violent when they reached a secluded car park.
The defendant shouted humiliating abuse at her as he punched her in the face repeatedly.
He then carried out the sex attack upon her as she sobbed.
Connolly put his hand over her throat and strangled her.
He continued to assault her and she tried to run away from him.
Connolly grabbed hold of her by the hair and dragged her along the ground.
During the assault, Connolly said to the woman: "Walk like the dog you are."
He also told the woman that she "did not deserve to live" and said she was "scum".
The victim suffered serious abrasion injuries to her back from being dragged along the floor.
The ordeal lasted for 45 minutes.
After the attack he told her he would kill the baby if she became pregnant.
He also told her he would kill her if she reported it to the police.
CCTV footage showed the woman coming out of the car park in a severe state distress.
Connolly was caught on camera calmly walking away and lighting up a cigarette "as if nothing had happened."
His t-shirt was covered in blood after the attack. He took it off and threw it in the river Aire.
As he walked back through Leeds city centre Connolly was approached by two women who asked if he was alright.
Connolly told the women he had been the victim of an assault,
The court heard how the women 'comforted' Connolly by putting their arms around him.
They walked him back to the Travelodge where he was staying.
Connolly then kept up the pretence and told his friends he had been attacked.
Judge Mushtaq Khokhar described that behaviour as "pure manipulation."
Connolly was arrested after the victim reported the attack to the police.
DNA evidence linked him to the offence.
He denied any wrongdoing and claimed at his trial that he had caused the injuries to the woman in self-defence.
The jury found him guilty of two counts of rape and one of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent.
The victim provided a statement to the court describing how she continues to suffer from anxiety and depression as a result of the attack.
She also continues to suffer from the physical injuries inflicted upon her.
Gillian Batts, prosecuting, said Connolly carried out the attack not long after he had undergone training about the "core values" of being a soldier in the British Army.
The training included showing respect for others and treating them with dignity "whether they are a mate, an officer or a member of the Taliban."
Connolly, of Blenheim Road, Ramsey, Cambridgeshire, had also undergone training about sexual offences and the issue of consent.
Katherine Robinson, mitigating, said Connolly had been a promising soldier with a bright future in the military.
The barrister said: "He has gone from being an exemplary young soldier to committing offences of this kind."
Judge Khokhar said he had read 15 references provided to the court by Connolly's friends, family and army officers describing him as "highly articulate, polite, bright, thoughtful, pleasant, well-mannered, caring and having a strong moral compass."
The judge said: "I am sure in your other life you may be all of those things.
"But what you did that morning is totally contrary to what they see and, more importantly, contrary to the training that you had had in relation to the core values of a soldier.
"Your behaviour that morning was totally in contrast with those values."
A probation officer's report stated that Connolly was unable to provide an explanation for the attack.
The officer said: "In my assessment, this presents the greatest risk until he understands the motivation for this offence and he can articulate it."
The Judge told Connolly he was imposing an extended custodial sentence as he considered him to pose a serious danger to women.
He must serve a custodial term of 15 years followed by a further three-year licence period.
After the case, Detective Chief Inspector Marc Bowes, of West Yorkshire Police Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: “Connolly preyed on the victim, who was clearly vulnerable, and subjected her to a frightening ordeal during which she was raped and beaten and left badly traumatised.
“He was quickly identified through police enquiries that continued to build up a comprehensive package of evidence which has resulted in his conviction for these offences.
“Officers have also worked alongside a number of partner agencies to support the victim throughout this very difficult time for her, and we hope it will provide her with some degree of comfort to know that he has now been held responsible for his appalling actions and sent to prison.”