United Kingdom

Soldier, 21, is jailed for six years for raping first-time mother

A soldier who raped a mother just days after she gave birth has today been sentenced to six years in prison.  

Thomas Cowley, 21, a former soldier at the Dalton Barracks in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, sexually assaulted the first-time mother just days after she left hospital having undergone a caesarean section operation.       

After a trial at Oxford Crown Court, Cowley was convicted of one count of rape and one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and jailed for six years. 

Judge Michael Gledhill QC said today: 'This rape was inflicted upon this woman within days of her giving birth. You forced yourself upon her.'

Thomas Cowley, 21, who sexually assaulted the first-time mother just days after she left hospital, was sentenced to six years in prison

Prosecutor David Beard said that the serviceman had also strangled the woman at her 21st birthday party in front of horrified guests - clasping his hands around her neck and throwing her across the room.

The judge remarked: 'The assault was a disgrace. On her 21st birthday party you took hold of her and threw her across the room, causing bruising and red marks.' 

The victim, her partner and a dozen of her friends and family were all sat in the public gallery in support today. 

The mother of Cowley was heard sobbing as the victim's horrific ordeal was read to the judge.

In the emotional statement, the young woman explained that following the attack, she was left a nervous wreck and was forced to quit her job, before spiralling into suicidal thoughts.

Defending Cowley, Claire Fraser said: 'In his public life, Thomas Cowley was ambitious, driven and determined. 

'He expressed sadness and recognises it is not the type of behaviour that he condones, nor which he would carry forward.

'In support of him are both his parents who sit in court. They have remained incredibly supportive of him and he has a significant respect to them.

'He spent his 21st birthday in custody and custody in the current climate is an incredibly difficult place. He recognises this as a period he needs to get through and to make sure that this type of behaviour does not happen again.'

Cowley had previously admitted controlling and coercive behaviour before the trial in which the jury convicted him of one count of rape and one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The former solider was  based at the Dalton Barracks in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. Pictured: GV os the barracks

Sitting at Oxford Crown Court, Judge Gledhill said: 'It is painful for everybody in this court, including me, to see you standing in the dock having pleaded guilty to or found guilty of very serious offences indeed.

'You are aged 21 years and the offences began in 2017. That is four years ago and you were somebody who had just left school. People speak highly of you, your colleagues in the Army claimed you were a good soldier and respected you.

'Those who wrote character references are horrified that you are here because they see you as they have seen you since you were a little boy, a kind and caring young man who would not hurt anybody.

'You have wrecked your life, you have to recognise what you did was wholly wrong. You do not treat anybody in the way you treated that woman. The most important aspect of your life was the Army, which is gone and it is entirely your own fault.'

The judge sentenced Cowley to six years in prison and he was made subject to an indefinite restraining order against the victim. 

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