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Posted on Tuesday 23 May 2023
Robert Barnett

A rapist who pinned a woman to a bed following a house party has been jailed.

Robert James Barnett attended the woman’s home in Blackhall Colliery in September 2020.

Taking advantage of her intoxicated state, he led her upstairs in the early hours of the morning and forced himself on her.

After several minutes the young woman managed to fight her way out of the room and fled the house, raising the alarm.

Officers rushed to the scene and arrested Barnett.

Following a police investigation, he was charged with rape and sexual assault, which he denied.

The 58-year-old, of Gorhill Estate, Thornley, was found guilty following a trial at Durham Crown Court this month and sentenced to a total of 12 years in prison.

DC Benjamin Cloke, who led the investigation, said: “This was a horrendous incident with Barnett preying on the young woman while she was intoxicated and vulnerable.

“She has shown immense courage by coming forward and giving evidence against her abuser.

“Hopefully his sentence will give her some comfort and help her start to rebuild her life.”

We take all investigations into rape and sexual assault very seriously and will support victims every step of the way.

If you have suffered sexual abuse, please come forward and report it to us – either on 101, or in an emergency by calling 999.

If you don’t want to talk to the police, you can still access help through The Meadows Sexual Assault Referral Centre.

To contact The Meadows, call 0330 223 0099, or visit their website    

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