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Man given 17 years for sex offences including strangling & beating Crawley girl

An engineer from Partridge Green has been sentenced to 17 years imprisonment for violent and sexual attacks on two women.

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Neil Scott-O’Connor, 23, a household appliance engineer, was sentenced at Hove Crown Court on Friday (17 January) for;

– six offences against a 29-year old woman at an address in Brighton on dates between September 2018 and January 2019; one offence of threats to kill, one of attempted strangulation with intent to commit a sexual offence, two offences of causing actual bodily harm, and one of harassment with intent to cause fear;
– three offences against a 17-year-old girl at his address in Partridge Green in December 2018; one offence of attempted strangulation with intent to commit a sexual offence and two of causing actual bodily harm.

He had pleaded not guilty to all charges, and was found not guilty of one offence of causing actual bodily harm to the 29-year old woman.

He will have to serve 11 years and four months before being eligible to apply for parole, and will have a to serve a further four years on extended prison licence supervision whenever he is released.

Scott-O’Connor will also be a registered sex offender for life and was given a sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) until further court order, severely controlling his access to women.

The prosecution, authorised by the Crown Prosecution Service, followed an investigation by detectives from both the West Sussex Investigations team and the Brighton Safeguarding Investigations Unit.

Scott-O’Connor had his own business an emergency appliance repair man, driving around Sussex fixing appliances in houses or in businesses.
Police first became aware of Scott-O’Connor’s offending when the 17-year-old woman from Crawley came forward. She had extensive bruising on her body and reported that she had been strangled almost to the point of unconsciousness by someone she had met on Facebook, during their first date.

This man was Scott-O’Connor. He was arrested in December 2018 and was released on bail whilst an investigation began.

The scope of his sexualised offending soon became apparent when the 29-year-old woman from Brighton then came forward reporting similar attacks and non-consensual strangulation during their short relationship.

She too had photographs of extensive bruising and injuries inflicted by him. When the relationship ended Scott-O’Connor made multiple threats to the victim which included him threatening to burn her house down, to cut the brake lines on her car, and shoot her and her two-year-old son. Fearing he was capable of carrying out these threats she immediately reported him to police. He was further arrested and interviewed during which he continued to deny any wrong doing.

Officers conducted a thorough examination of his mobile phone and revealed a wealth of information including an Amazon shopping list of weapons and restraints, hundreds of screenshots of female Facebook profiles and the purchase of tracking devices. His Internet search history raised concern further, as did his choice of horror movies depicting rape and torture.

Detective Sergeant Andy Ricks said;

“I am extremely pleased with this result. My team had worked tirelessly to build a solid evidential case against Scott-O’Connor who clearly posed a significant risk, luring his victims into relationships through charm and flattery, in one case via social media, then turning to violence and fear to act out his dark sexual fantasies.

“His obsession with strangulation was a common feature in the investigation and it’s only by good fortune that one of his victims was not killed. As Counsel for the prosecution, Richard Hearndon said of Scott-O’Connor; “…during strangulation he literally had their life in his hands”.

“We would also like to thank the victims for having the courage to come forward and supporting us in putting this dangerous offender behind bars.”

For information about support and advice available to victims see the Sussex Police website.

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BREAKING NEWS: Hard shoulder could return to M23

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In a shocking turn a meeting with the Transport Secretary Grant Shapp with Crawley’s MP Henry Smith has revealed that the proposed new ‘Smart Motorway’ could be reverted back to a three lane plus hard shoulder one.

Meeting with the Transport Secretary and the Roads Minister Baroness Vere, Mr Smith expressed his concerns over the safety and construction period disruptions occuring on the M23.

It comes only a week after the Crawley MP raised the issue in the House Of Commons.

But in a meeting today the Transport Secretary revealed that an urgent review which is currently being undertaken could lead to the reinstatement of the hard shoulder along the M23.

Mr Smith said:

“I was pleased to hear the Transport Secretary give assurances that the works on the M23 will be expedited so there will not be another six month delay. I was also assured that the ongoing works will also take account of the review and if that means reinstating the hard shoulder or adding extra refuges and signage I would support it.”

Speaking exclusively to CN24 Mr Smith said that he had been assured that a decision on Smart Motorways would be made before the M23 works finished allowing whatever decision made on them to be implemented straight away.

The news will have a mixed reaction to the many commuters who use the M23 every day and have had to endure long queues.

But if the hard shoulder returns it will open new questions over the huge expense that many will see having been a waste of money.

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