Victim’s disgust after sex attack handyman walks free from court

Suspended sentence
Suspended sentence

A WIGAN woman who was sexually assaulted by a handyman in her home today branded him a “scumbag” after he walked free from court.

The victim, who was just 19 at the time of the attack, was set upon in the bedroom of her rented flat by Rhys Lavin who had come to fix a faulty radiator.

You attended the address to undertake some repair works and your chat and discussion with the lady householder got very much out of hand

Judge Hatton

She told the Wigan Evening Post today he had made her life hell and that he should have got a tougher sentence. But, having being branded a liar by him, his friends and family, she said she was relieved others were now at least able to see she had actually told the truth. At Liverpool Crown Court, the 24-year-old former soldier from Reedsmere Close, Newtown, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment suspended for 18 months and ordered to carry out 250 hours’ unpaid work.

At the sentencing hearing at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday, Judge Andrew Hatton also placed him under supervision for 12 months and ordered him to sign on the Sex Offenders’ Register for seven years.

Lavin had earlier pleaded guilty to the sexual assault which took place on October 8 last year.

Sentencing him Judge Hatton, said: “You attended the address to undertake some repair works and your chat and discussion with the lady householder got very much out of hand.

“The flirtation deteriorated very badly when you pushed her onto a bed and straddled her. It was a relatively short-lived incident but was aggravated by the fact it was in her own home and a pillow fell forward on her face at one point but that did not deter you from what you were doing.”

Paul Treble, defending, told the court that Lavin had served his country in the Army before taking up the job as a repairman for an electricity firm. He took full responsibility for what he had done, Mr Treble added.

The victim, who cannot be identified, said today: “I have been called a liar and a slag by his friends and family for reporting him and no-one believed me but my own family and friends.

“But at least now people can see that it was me that was telling the truth and not him. He had gone round telling everyone I had made it all up and had given him the come-on. He was also belittling me in front of my friends.

“I am disappointed at the sentence. He should have got more because he made my life hell. I still think about it now. What has happened to him sentence-wise doesn’t compare with what this low life scumbag did to me. But I am at least thankful that I got justice.”

The woman, who is now 20, said that when Lavin attacked her, she pushed him off and screamed “what the hell are you doing?”.

“He then tried to kiss me again, as if he still had a chance. I held the door open and ordered him to get out,” she added.

“Because my landlords had given him my mobile number in order to sort out the visit over the radiator in the first place, he then started to text me, begging me not to tell anyone, telling me that he had family and a kid and asking if the radiator was all right.

“But this turned out to be part of the evidence against him because it showed he knew he had done wrong.”