Reading Crown Court: jail for Thatcham alleyway rapist
A MAN has been jailed for five years for raping a woman in a town centre alleyway.
Jurors at Reading Crown Court took just under six hours to unanimously convict Christopher Mark Tooze on Friday, July 16.
The incident was witnessed by nearby residents, one of whom shouted at Tooze: “What part of ‘no’ don’t you understand?’” as he forced himself on his victim, who can not be identified.
Jurors had heard the 36-year-old former pupil of Kennet School, Thatcham, nicknamed ‘Ducky’, had followed the woman after she had been drinking with friends in Thatcham town centre.
Tooze insisted the sex was consensual and Jonathan Code, defending, highlighted CCTV footage which showed the pair disappearing hand in hand into an alleyway off The Broadway and out of sight of the camera.
But witnesses Mark and Leanne Jones called 999 after witnessing Tooze forcing himself on his victim while she screamed and pleaded with him to stop.
The woman said she had agreed to go into the alley and kiss him because she was angry with her boyfriend, but had resisted when Tooze tore her leggings down and began to force himself on her.
She told officers: “I said no. I deserved better than this.
“I was screaming... he wasn’t listening... I kicked and kicked and screamed.”
Tooze denied the single charge, but chose not to give evidence under oath, upon which he could have been cross examined.
Charles Ward-Jackson, prosecuting, said: “The prosecution case is a strong one and you may well think he has questions to answer.
“It isn’t a long walk from the dock to the witness stand. Yet there he sits.”
Mr Ward-Jackson told jurors they could draw their own conclusions from Tooze’s “deafening silence”.
He described what happened as a “forceful rape” and added: “He grabbed a sexual opportunity, whether she wanted it or not.”
Mr Code, for Tooze, said: “The crown say this man in the dock can be branded a rapist for the rest of his life” and went on to highlight inconsistencies in the victim’s evidence.
Despite repeatedly storming out during cross examination, she eventually conceded she had indulged in sexual foreplay with Tooze.
Mr Code suggested the woman had gone on to enjoy consensual intercourse until his client had tried to engage her in an unconventional sex act.
The jury was not convinced.
In addition to being jailed for five years, Tooze was ordered to sign on the sex offender’s register for life.