A man living in Hemel Hempstead has pleaded guilty to a string of offences after forcing a woman into a BMW for sex.
Zachery Owens, aged 26, of Lawn Lane, Hemel Hempstead, appeared at Luton Crown Court on Monday 9 March, where he pleaded guilty to the following six charges, which all relate to one victim:
- Rape of a female aged 16 years or over (two counts)
- Assault of a female aged 13 years or over by penetration
- Taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent
- Driving while disqualified
He pleaded not guilty to charges of false imprisonment and inflicting grievous bodily harm respectively. His defence team has asked for both charges to lie on file.
The charges relate to an incident at 7.30am on Tuesday 21 January, when a woman in her 20s was kidnapped on Farmhouse Lane as she walked to work.
Owens forced her into a BMW, which he had taken without the owner’s consent, and raped her twice in the vehicle before driving her to a block of flats in the Adeyfield area of the town.
Once inside, the victim had to jump from a second-floor balcony to escape her attacker. She suffered serious injuries and was hospitalised as a result. Owens fled before a member of the public went to the victim’s aid and called police, who arrived at the scene in less than five minutes. Owens was arrested the following day (Wednesday 22 January) and charged in the early hours of Thursday 23 January.
Detective Inspector Phil Moss, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit (MCU), said: “This is a horrific case which justifiably shocked the community of Hemel Hempstead earlier this year. The victim has since astounded the entire MCU team with her bravery and composure throughout the investigation, and I would like to pay tribute to her publically.
“She has enabled us to build a strong case against her attacker and with her help, Owens has appeared before court today. We now await the outcome of the sentencing next month.”
Owens has been remanded in custody ahead of sentencing, which has been scheduled for Friday 3 April at Luton Crown Court.
Anyone in Hertfordshire who has experienced sexual abuse or sexual violence can contact the Herts Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) for practical and emotional support. The centre can arrange face-to-face support, sexual health referrals, and provide forensic medical examinations for those who want them.
To contact Herts SARC, call the 24/7 helpline on 0808 178 4448, email Herts.SARC@nhs.net or visit www.hertssarc.org.
This service is open to everyone – men, women and young people, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.