Rapist jailed for 19 years after judge calls him ‘every woman’s worst nightmare’

A rapist who snatched a complete stranger off the street as she walked to work and subjected her to a ‘frightening and appalling’ sexual assault has been jailed for 19 years.

Zachery Owens, 26, attacked the woman after grabbing her by the throat and shoving her in the back of a BMW. He then drove her back to her own flat in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, where he intended to carry on the abuse.

His quick-thinking victim only managed to escape by climbing out of a window, falling two floors down to the pavement and breaking her wrist and elbow in the process.

Owens admitted rape, kidnap, assault by penetration and driving offences. Jailing him at Luton Crown Court, Judge Barbara Mensah told him: ‘You are the sort of person who is every woman’s worst nightmare.

‘They were prolonged and heinous offences, extending to the victims own home. You targeted a lone single female and used significant force.

‘Your action were so frightening and appalling she was prepared to exit from her second floor window to get away from you. You must have known how frightened she was.’

In a victim personal statement the woman said: ‘It feels like my independence has been taken from me. I can’t walk to the shops with feeling scared.’

She said her scars were a permanent reminder of what happened.

The court heard the attack occurred at around 7.30am on January 21.

Prosecutor Simon Wilshire said: ‘This was a random abduction of a complete stranger.’

He said Owens approached the woman in an alleyway and ‘gave her a story about his phone running out of credit’.

Mr Wilshire described how he ‘asked for directions and continued to try to engage her’.

He said: ‘She became increasing uncomfortable and walked away, but she was aware he had followed her.

‘He grabbed her around the throat. She screamed for help and he told her to shut up. He opened the car door and pushed her in the back, smashing her lip on the door.’

After raping the woman in the car he drove her to her flat. But when they arrived the woman told him she would go in first to shut her dog away.

She then went to the balcony and tried to lower herself down to the next floor, but fell. From the first floor she balcony she fell again, hitting the ground with a ‘loud thud’.

A passer-by went to her aid and she spent the next two days in hospital where she was treated for cuts and fractures.

The initial kidnap was witnessed by a dog walker who passed on a description of the BMW along with its registration to police who arrested Owens later that night.

Detective Inspector Phil Moss said: ‘Today we finally have justice for Owens’ victim, who has shown nothing buy courage and dignity throughout her awful ordeal.

‘Owens’ brazen actions on that day clearly show what a danger he is to women.’