Copthorne man sentenced for graveyard rapes

A man from Copthorne has been sentenced for rape. Image: Sussex Police
A man from Copthorne has been sentenced for rape. Image: Sussex Police

A Copthorne man has been sentenced to 11 years imprisonment after being found guilty of raping two vulnerable women in a Horsham graveyard, a police spokesperson said.

Jordan Tobutt, 23, unemployed, of Church Road, Copthorne, was sentenced at Hove Crown Court on Friday 10 February, the spokesperson said.

He had been found guilty on 19 October last year, after a trial, of raping a women in April 2016 and another woman between 2013 and 2014 in a graveyard off Denne Road in Horsham, confirmed the spokesperson.

He was found not guilty of another charge of rape of the first woman, and of two other charges of rape and attempted rape in relation to the second woman, the spokesperson said,

He was found not guilty of raping a third woman at an address in West Sussex, added the spokesperson.

Tobutt will also be a registered sex offender for life and was given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order(SHPO) severely restricting his access to vulnerable people, confirmed the spokesperson.

In sentencing Tobutt, Judge Janet Waddicor said; “You are manipulative and devious.

“Your methods are not sophisticated but they don’t need to be.

“The people you exploit are extremely vulnerable.”

The Judge also praised Sussex Police for a thorough and exhaustive investigation, and emphasised he importance of specialist support for vulnerable victims.

The spokesperson said the case showed how witnesses and victims with learning difficulties can still giving their evidence effectively in court, with expert support and the use of video evidence.

Detective Constable Dani Flude, of the West Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit, said; “This was a particularly sensitive investigation as both the offender and his victims have learning difficulties, but it was clear that he was much less vulnerable than them.”

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