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Taunton man handed life sentence for ‘horrific’ rape and assault offences

This image shows Elias Arberry who has been handed a life sentence for a series of 'horrific' rape and sexual offences

A Taunton man has been handed a life sentence for carrying out a series of rape and sexual assault offences.

Elias Arberry, of Moorland Road, was sentenced today (Friday 14 October) at Taunton Crown Court to a life sentence, with a minimum term of 15 and a half years, after he pleaded guilty to seven offences, including four counts of rape, two of sexual assault and one of wounding with intent.

The court heard how 25-year-old Arberry had violently assaulted the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, inflicting serious injuries before raping her in May this year.

The victim managed to raise the alarm when Arberry had fallen asleep and she escaped.

Officers conducted a 26-hour search for the defendant, where he was found at a hotel in Weston-super-Mare.

Along with his conviction, he will be a registered sex offender for life. The victim has also been given a life-time restraining order against Arberry.

In an impact statement, the victim said: “At my age, most people are thinking about finding a partner to share their life with and settling down. However, I also feel that opportunity has been taken away from me.

“I am extremely angry about what he did to me. It has impacted literally every aspect of my life and takes up most of my thoughts throughout the day, every day and then at night as well – I cannot get away from it.

“I feel I have really only scratched the surface of how this has affected me and how it will affect me probably for the rest of my life.”

Speaking about the incident, the victim’s mother said: “Since that day at the start of May, I literally feel like I have been living a nightmare.

“You watch things on the news and you hear so much about the violence against women and girls, but you never think that sort of thing will happen to you or your family.

“I never use the word ‘hate’ because it is such a strong word and I have taught my children never to use that word. However, I hate Arberry for what he has done to my daughter and to our family.”

Detective Inspector Nadine Partridge said: “This defendant carried out a horrific series of offences against the victim, which are among some of the worst I’ve had to investigate during my policing career.

“The heinous crimes Arberry committed have caused the victim long-lasting mental and physical injuries.

“She has shown incredible bravery and strength in assisting the police in this investigation, so we’ve been able to put a very dangerous man behind bars, preventing him causing harm to anyone else.

“This is a welcome result for both the victim and her family and will hopefully give the victim the closure and justice she needs to move forward with her life.”

Gareth Giddings, Senior Crown Prosecutor for the CPS South West Rape and Serious Sexual Offences unit, said: “The CPS worked closely alongside our partners in the police to support their investigation and build the strongest possible case.

“This work, supported by the victim’s own account of what happened to her, resulted in Arberry pleading guilty and ensured that he will be held responsible for his appalling crimes.

“I would like to commend and thank the victim in this case for coming forward to tell her story and support the prosecution.

“Rape and sexual assault have a devastating effect on victims and the CPS is committed to working with our partners in the criminal justice system to deliver justice and make the public safer.”

If you are a victim of rape or sexual assault, please come forward. It is never too late to report offences to police.

Victims of rape or sexual assault, recent or non-recent, can self-refer to The Bridge, a Sexual Assault Referral Centre available 24/7 365 days a year. Visit their website at www.thebridgecanhelp.org.uk or call 0117 342 6999.

You can also visit www.thisisnotanexcuse.org for details of charities and organisations who are experts in supporting victims.