Man who raped and attacked young woman in Hastings jailed

Luke Smith has now been jailed.

A man who repeatedly raped and attacked a young woman in Hastings, including hitting her over the head with a rock, has been jailed for 13 years.

Luke Smith, a labourer of no fixed address, was previously found guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman in December 2018.

The 27-year-old, who had been drinking on his own in the town centre, took the young woman, who was on her way home after a night out, to a secluded part of West Hill and subjected her to what police described as ‘an horrendous ordeal’.  

Officers said Smith repeatedly raped and struck the woman, who managed to escape only after he became distracted, looking for his mobile phone.

Police said he was later arrested after his DNA was discovered at the scene, and on the victim’s clothing, including her bra.

DI Steve Shimmons, from the East Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit called the incident ‘the most violent rape’ he had ever investigated.

He said:

“I want to commend the courage of the victim in supporting our investigation and giving evidence in person at the trial, with specialist support measures and help through the Independent Sexual Violence Advisory Service.

“Her victim impact statement, which she courageously read out in person at the sentencing, was very powerful and moving, setting out in no uncertain terms the effect this attack had on her.

“We hope that with support she will now be able to move on with her life.”