York kidnap and rape accused, Mark Ford Thompson, guilty of 9 charges - he could be jailed for life - police praise victims' courage

GUILTY: York kidnap and rape accused convicted of 9 charges

GUILTY: York kidnap and rape accused convicted of 9 charges

Updated in News by , Court reporter

A YORK man accused of nine sex offences against four women was yesterday found guilty of all charges.

Mark Ford Thompson, 37, of Hospital Fields Road in Fulford, was convicted by a jury at Teesside Crown Court. He will be sentenced next Tuesday and a judge has said he could be jailed for life.

Thompson had been arrested last October after kidnapping a student in York, forcing her into his van and raping her three times during a terrifying drive betyween York and Malton.

The student was Thompson's fourth victim. Hours earlier, he had tried to sexually assault another woman while staying at a friend's house in York.

Last summer, he also tried to rape a 32-year-old woman in her house in York. And in 2009, he sexually assaulted a 23-year-old York woman in an alleyway off Coney Street.

He was convicted of:

  • 3 counts of rape
  • 2 counts of attempted rape
  • 1 count of kidnap
  • 1 count of sexual assault
  • 1 count of attempted sexual assault
  • 1 count of trespass with intent to commit a sexual offence

His offending started in 2009 with him groping a woman in Coney Street until a passer-by and nearby doormen intervened, and it ended last October with him bundling a student into the back of his white van and raping her repeatedly in York and at Kirkham Priory near Malton.

The student had been on her way home alone from a night club, where she worked to part-fund her studies.

Just hours before the final attack, Thompson had been thrown out of another woman's house for going into her bedroom with his trousers undone as she slept.

A few months earlier, he had invaded a fourth woman's bedroom and tried to rape her but she had managed to stop him.

Judge Michael Taylor at Teesside Crown Court said: "Where there has been a campaign of sexual activity long sentences in excess of 20 years can be expected."

Thompson's crimes were designated as being in the most serious category of rapes. The judge added that the only issue for him to decide was whether he should pass a "determinate" sentence which could be as long as 25 to 28 years, or an "indeterminate" sentence which would be a life sentence with a minimum term to be served before Thompson could be considered for parole.

Detective Chief Inspector Maria Taylor, who led the North Yorkshire Police investigation, said: “I would like to pay particular praise to the victims in this case who clearly, based on the facts, have been subjected to the most harrowing of experiences.

“Had it not been for their courage and that of the witnesses to come forward and work the  police, the conviction of Thompson would have been all the more difficult. I would like to extend my personal gratitude to them.”

Thompson showed no emotion as the jury returned their nine unanimous guilty verdicts after nearly six hours in retirement at the end of the nine day trial.

He had denied sexually assaulting the first woman in Coney Street, trespassing into the third woman's house with intent to commit a sexual offence and trying to rape her in 2013, attempting to sexually assault the second woman in the early hours of October 29, 2013, and kidnapping the student, raping her three times and also trying to rape her again.

His barrister Alex Menary urged the judge to consider adjourning the case so a psychiatrist could prepare a report on Thompson. Teesside Crown Court heard the judge will have to decide how dangerous Thompson will be towards women in future and the barrister said  he was not qualified to talk on certain matters that would be relevant.

At one point in his police interviews after his arrest, Thompson referred to "my little twitches in my head" but he did not put any medical evidence before the jury.

The judge said he had enough information about Thompson without the report.

The prosecution will submit victim impact statements from at least two of the women. The court heard the women whom Thompson confronted in their bedrooms only felt able to tell police about his actions after the student told a retired police officer about her ordeal and he was arrested.

Thompson has been in custody since his arrest in the afternoon of October 29 and has been remanded in prison until Tuesday.

 

 

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