Knife point rapist jailed for nine years

Lester Shand.
Lester Shand.
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A violent sexual predator who raped and robbed a prostitute at knife-point before stabbing her has been jailed for nine years.

Lester Shand, 25, may also have got his victim pregnant during the attack in Chapeltown, Leeds. She must wait until her child is born before discovering if he is the father.

Shand attacked the woman on April 9 after she initially agreed to perform a sex act on him for £20.

Leeds Crown Court heard Shand then forced her to go behind a building where he held a knife to the back of her head as he raped her.

The victim was stabbed in the arm as she struggled and was badly wounded. Shand then stole the woman’s jacket which contained two mobile phones and cash.

David Gordon, prosecuting, said the woman begged and pleaded with Shand not to take one of the phones as it contained the only pictures she had of her daughter, who had been taken into care.

Shand also suffered a badly cut hand from the knife during the attack.

He was arrested two days later after the woman took police to the scene of the incident and forensic officers were able to identify him from blood left there.

Jailing him yesterday, judge Colin Burn told Shand: “It seems to me that it is completely immaterial that your victim was a prostitute.

“She is just as entitled to the protection of the law as any other person and just as entitled to withhold her consent to sexual intercourse as any other person.”

Mr Gordon said the victim was due to give birth in January and February, when she would discover if the child is Shand’s.

After his arrest Shand, of Gamble Hill Croft, Bramley, denied attacking the woman and tried to claim sex was consensual. He pleaded guilty to rape, robbery and unlawful wounding on the day of his trial.

Richard Wright, mitigating, asked that Shand be given credit for his guilty plea and sparing his victim from have to relive her ordeal during the trial.

Shand was jailed for five years for drugs offences in 2005. Mr Wright said Shand got a job working in McDonalds after his release from jail but returned to drink and drugs shortly before the rape following the death of his mother.

After the hearing Det Supt Dick Nuttall, of West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: “It is perhaps all too easy for society in general to sometimes assume that the risk of sexual and physical assault is some sort of acceptable occupational hazard for those who make their living on the streets.

“The reality is that sexual assaults and violence are traumatic for the victim no matter what the circumstances and everyone has the same right to justice.

“Local organisations including Genesis in Leeds and the STAR Project provide invaluable support to those affected by this type of crime as well as helping to increase the reporting of these incidents to the police through their innovative crime reporting schemes.”

Carol Young, Director of Genesis, a Leeds based charity supporting women involved in prostitution and sexual exploitation, said: “Today’s conviction highlights what can be done when agencies work well together to ensure those involved in these type of offences are brought to justice.

“We need to continue to strengthen these partnerships and increase confidence amongst sex workers that any reports of crimes committed against them will be taken seriously.”

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