Burgling thug is cleared of rape
A Wigan man who subjected a woman friend to a terrifying attack and ransacked her home has been sentenced to eight months' imprisonment.
Shaun Stockton had admitted those offences at the start of his trial, but he had denied more serious allegations including one of rape.
And after the evidence was put to a trial the Atherton 25-year-old was found not guilty by a jury of the rape allegation along with the charges he faced of false imprisonment, making a threat to kill and two assaults causing actual bodily harm, all involving the same female acquaintance.
Sentencing him, Judge Brian Cummings, QC, said that as Stockton has been remanded in custody since January, the sentence meant that he would now be due to be released from prison.
But the judge pointed out that Stockton will be on licence for 12 months and he imposed a five-year restraining order to keep away from the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons. Breach of the licence can mean his immediate return to the cells.
Neville Biddle, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court that on January 23 this year Stockton was at the woman’s first floor home in Atherton.
The defendant admitted that while there he punched the woman in the face, causing bruising to her lip.
He also admitted leaving but later returning after buying wine and climbing up a ladder to get back into her home.
She had left to go to a neighbour’s home in order to alert the police of what had happened to her.
And while she was out Stockton took the opportunity to ransack the address, although the value of damage was unknown, said Mr Biddle.
The woman had claimed that Stockton had raped her and kept her prisoner in her own home.
She had also alleged that he tried to strangle her and bit her fingers while she tried to retrieve her mobile phone from him.
And she had further alleged that Stockton had sprayed lighter fuel over her and threatened to ignite it and burn her.
The defendant denied all these allegations and told the court that she had consented to have sex with him.
Stockton left the scene after ransacking her home, but returned once again only to be promptly arrested by police whom the victim had called from the neighbour’s home.
Appearing in the dock, the defendant pleaded guilty to assaulting the woman causing actual bodily harm and causing criminal damage.
The court heard that Stockton, of Windermere Avenue, Atherton, has previous convictions for assault, harassment, possessing an offensive weapon and aggravated vehicle-taking.
Paul Treble, defending, said that Stockton, who has a young son, had become addicted to alcohol and crack cocaine and he admitted that he had behaved badly.
The incident has been “a wake-up call” for him and he has spent eight months on remand, he added.
Stockton previously appeared in the Wigan Evening Post two years ago when police issued an appeal for his whereabouts when he breached the terms of his licence, having been released from a prison sentence for public order offences and possession of a firearm.