Hastings West Hill rape trial verdict returned

Hove Crown Court
Hove Crown Court

The jury in a Hastings rape trial has returned its verdict at Hove Crown Court today (Friday, June 7).

Luke Smith, 27, a builder of no fixed address, was charged with two counts of raping a teenage woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, on the West Hill in Hastings in the early hours of December 15, 2018. 

He denied the charges, claiming the intercourse was consensual. 

But today, a jury found Smith guilty of one charge of rape, and not guilty of a second charge of rape. Both charges related to the same victim.

READ MORE: Hastings rapist subjected victim to ‘horrendous ordeal’ on West Hill

The court had previously heard that the woman had been on a night out at Whistle Trago, in Hastings’ Old Town on December 14, 2018.

She said she had little memory of her night out due to the consumption of alcohol but remembered waking up on the West Hill area in the early hours of December 15 while she was being raped by a man she did not know.

On Monday, the first day of the trial, Philip Bennetts QC, prosecuting, said: “She told him to stop. He did not. She was hit by him.”

Read more from the first day of the trial here. 

The case was adjourned for a pre-sentencing report to be prepared. 

SEE MORE: Teenage woman was raped on Hastings West Hill after night out, court hears

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