The Gazette

Man guilty of rape and false imprisonme­nt in own home

- By POPPY KENNEDY poppy.kennedy@reachplc.com @ReporterPo­ppy

A VIOLENT thug trapped a woman in her own home and repeatedly raped.

James Walton has been found guilty of a string of offences after he entered a woman’s home last year and put her in a “choke hold” when she tried to escape.

The 32-year-old dragged her into the living room and smacked her face so hard that she fell to the floor and saw nothing but black and stars.

Bravely giving evidence in court, the woman spoke of how she feared he would kill her if she didn’t do everything she could to appease the situation. During the prolonged 14-hour ordeal, Walton, who has a history of violence against women, raped her in her own bed three times.

A jury has now found him guilty of three counts of rape, assault occasionin­g actual bodily harm, intentiona­l strangulat­ion, false imprisonme­nt, putting a person in fear of violence and intimidati­on.

Teesside Crown Court heard how it is alleged that he entered a woman’s home last year and put her in a “choke hold” when she tried to flee.

The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, broke down in tears throughout her police interview.

In the videoed statement, played to jurors, she said: “I didn’t think I was going to get out of there. I honestly thought he was going to kill me. I think he probably would have if I had talked back or raised my voice or done anything he didn’t want me to do. I don’t think I would have got out of there.”

Teesside Crown Court heard how the woman had returned home from work at around 9.20pm but had not locked the door behind her. She says she heard footsteps in the hallway and found Walton in her home.

Jurors heard how the 32-year-old grabbed her in a choke hold and dragged her into the living room when she tried to escape.

Later in the evening, he smacked her across the face and her mouth was bleeding onto the floor. Over the next 12 hours, Walton had sex with the woman three times without consent.

The woman says he cleaned the blood in her home the following day, and removed the bed sheets telling her to wash them.

Walton, of Ashling Way, Middlesbro­ugh, had denied all eight offences against him but was found guilty by the jury last week. Giving evidence on Wednesday, Walton, who was represente­d by Victoria Lamballe, claimed the woman wanted to have sex with him.

Jurors were told how the defendant has a history of violence against women. He had only been released from prison on May 24, 2022, just over two months before the alleged offences took place.

He will be sentenced on May 12.

 ?? ?? James Walton
James Walton

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