Crime

Rapist May Have Contracted HIV From Victim

| by Alex Scarr

A Britain man convicted of raping a sleeping woman was notified that he may have contracted HIV from his victim.

Richard Thomas, 27, was sentenced to five years and four months in prison for raping a woman in her home while she slept, according to the BBC. Thomas said he knew the woman was ill but did not know it could be HIV. He reportedly collapsed when told the news.

Thomas said he had been drinking heavily on the night of the attack, as well as using cocaine and ecstasy at various points during the evening. He said he could not recall much from the attack but believed the woman's story.

Police say Thomas let himself into the woman's home uninvited and went into the bedroom where he then assaulted her as she slept. The woman had taken a sleeping tablet and awoke to find Thomas raping her.

"She froze and no words were exchanged," said prosecutor Harry Pepper. "He pulled up his shorts and left."

The lawyer for Thomas, Virginia Hayton, said that Thomas was unsure of the events of the night but told her the woman "would not lie, she tells the truth. If she says I have done it, I have done it," according to The Telegraph. It was not immediately clear whether Thomas knew his victim before the assault.

Judge Mark Brown presiding over the case ordered that Thomas be sentenced to five years and four months, as well as giving him a permanent listing on the Sex Offenders Register for the "dreadful offense."

Hayton described Thomas as agonizing over the night's events. Thomas has previous convictions but none for sexual assault or rape.

"[Thomas] is remorseful and cannot understand why he did it and it is troubling him," Hayton said. She also noted that Thomas has a long history with drugs and alcohol, having started to use cannabis at age 9 and then drinking by 11. Thomas also said he was addicted to cocaine and ecstasy at 13 and received treatment for the addictions during his teenage years.

Thomas was set to find out the results of the HIV test shortly after being notified of the possibility. It was not clear if Thomas contracted the disease.

Hayton offered little condolences to Thomas in the meantime.

"This [HIV test] has been hanging over his head," she said, according to the Mirror. "It's his own fault. If he'd not committed this offense he would not have placed himself in this position."

Sources: BBC, The Telegraph, Mirror / Photo credit: Wheeler Cowperthwaite/Flickr

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