Neil Scott-O’Connor, 23, a household appliance engineer, was convicted at Hove Crown Court on Thursday (28 November) after a 14-day trial, of;
– 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 was found not guilty of one offence of causing actual bodily harm to the 29-year old woman.
He had pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The prosecution, authorised by the Crown Prosecution Service, followed an investigation by detectives from both the West Sussex Investigations team and the Brighton Safeguarding Investigation Unit (SIU).
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,including Investigator Gary Campbell, and Detective Constable Tracey Dixon from the Brighton SIU, worked tirelessly to build a solid evidential case over the past year. Neil Scott-O’Connor 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 support us in putting this dangerous offender behind bars.”
Scott-O’Connor was remanded in custody for pre-sentence reports, prior to sentencing on 17 January 2020.
For information about support and advice available to victims see the Sussex Police website.
15-year sentence for rape of woman befriended in Crawley nightclub
A Worthing man is starting a 15-year extended prison sentence for the rape of a woman he had befriended.
David Jani, 45, a care assistant, of Shelley Road, Worthing, was sentenced at Lewes Crown Court on Thursday (19 March) having been convicted of raping the 25-year-old woman at his flat on the night of 13-14 August 2019.
He was given a custodial term of 12 years and an extension period of three further years on licence, a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) to last indefinitely, prohibiting him from residing with or inviting into his residence any person deemed as vulnerable, and will be a registered sex offender for life.
The prosecution, authorised by the CPS, followed an investigation by detectives from the West Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit.
Detective Constable Emily Turner said;
“Jani was in a nightclub in Crawley, where he in effect targeted his victim who was on her own, taking her to his address and raping her.
“We are really glad that the victim has now seen justice done. She supported our investigation throughout and gave her evidence in court, facing cross-examination.
“This case shows once again how we will always support victims and seek to find the evidence to prosecute those who offend against them.”
The victim said;
“I would like to say a special thanks to friends and family, and to Littlehampton and Crawley Police for ensuring that this case was dealt with swiftly, namely DC Emily Turner, DC Hugh Charles and PC Alexa Wood.
“I now have an incredibly long way to go mentally to rebuild my life, as well as my future.”
For information on services and support available to victims of sexual offences see the Sussex Police website.
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