A 35-year-old rapist and control freak who threatened to burn down his victim’s house if she ‘snitched’ on him has been jailed for twelve years.
Benjamin Timmins, formerly of Lydney, but now of Kenneth Close, Prescot, Merseyside, was not present at Gloucester Crown Court to hear his sentence last Wednesday (November 22) because he had twice refused to be transported from prison for the hearing.
Judge Ian Lawrie KC announced the sentence in Timmins’ absence and described him as “a manipulative bully, excessively controlling and a violent individual who actively sought emotional control” of his victim.
Timmins had been convicted at a trial earlier this year of two charges of rape, using controlling and coercive behaviour, assault and witness intimidation. He had denied all the charges but admitted offences of possessing cannabis and perverting the course of justice.
The judge said “These offences are predicated on a combination of arrogance, vanity, and complete disrespect for the victim and a profound sense of entitlement.”
As well as 12 years imprisonment, of which Timmins will have to serve at least two-thirds before release on parole, the judge added three years of extra licence time - meaning Timmins could be recalled to jail at any time up until 2038.
The judge added “It is my assessment that Timmins presents a high risk of serious harm to the victim and the public in the context of a future partner should he commit a similar offence in the future due to the nature and extent of the offences.
“Timmins’ pre-sentence report makes it clear that he has continued to deny the offences and has not demonstrated or expressed any sense of remorse or regret evident in respect of the impact his behaviour towards the victim.”
The jury of six men and six women heard at his trial in September that he initially used a false name when he met the victim as he was wanted by police. He went on to coercively control the victim and would take money from her bank account with the promise he would pay her back.
Timmins also assaulted the victim by placing her in a choke hold, causing her to lose consciousness. He raped her on two occasions, telling her he would burn her house down if she ever ‘snitched’ on him.
But despite being remanded in custody after he was arrested and pleaded not guilty to the main charges, Timmins continued to try to manipulate and intimidate the victim by sending her letters from prison, threatening again her that she would be in trouble if she ‘snitched’ on him.
The victim said in a statement that the “roller coaster of being in this abusive relationship was exhausting and confusing” as her confidence had been built up by Timmins only to be torn down and her self-esteem broken daily.
She added that she lived in fear every day, not knowing how he would hurt her next and was constantly on edge. This manifested itself in physical symptoms for her, including nausea, vomiting, insomnia, palpitations, weight loss and tremors, she stated.
Some of those symptoms still persist today, she said, added that she has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. She has had to move house because of the constant flash backs and unhappy memories she was suffering.
The victim said she was also forced to change her career as being a solo operator now made her feel unsafe and she had completely lost her confidence in her abilities due to Timmins constantly putting her down.
The victim is having to pay for extensive therapy and believe now that Timmins has been sentenced she can finally begin the healing process, she added.
Eugene Hickey, defending, told the court that Timmins’ previous criminal convictions were not of a sexual nature and in comparison were low level offences.
“He realises that his sentence today will be significant,” he said. “He hasn’t presented himself at court today and he also declined to have a conference with me yesterday.”
The court heard that without any legal advice from his barrister Timmins has appealed against the verdicts to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, a body which investigates miscarriages of justice.
Judge Lawrie in sentencing Timmins in his absence said: “The offences are of varying gravity, and they all involved one woman. These offences pivoted around the very short intense relationship between the victim and Timmins. She was emotional and Timmins played on her vulnerability from the outset and took ruthless advantage of her for his own controlling ends.
“The offences took place over a six-month period. His behaviour can additionally be summarised as including threats to burn her house down, strangulation, threats of violence to her, acts of violence towards her, jealousy, possessiveness, financial manipulation and control of her behaviour, including where she goes and what she wears.
“It is fortunate that no long-lasting physical harm was caused to the victim, but there has clearly been enduring psychological harm caused to her by his behaviour.
“Whilst Timmins was in prison on remand the victim received a letter from him saying he loved her and not to give up on them, before asking her not to be a snitch.
“A second letter was then quickly sent to her where he goes on to say that he doesn’t care and adds ‘I’m in here and it was down to you’. He then ends the letter stating, ‘you’ll also only be in trouble if you snitch or cause it yourself. I’m in jail - what else can they do, lol?
“This communication has to judged in the context of a brief relationship hallmarked by threats and use of actual violence and clear coercive approach..
“Timmins has nine previous convictions for 20 offences . A number of those offences are abusive and exploitative in nature over relationships with various partners.
“Timmins refuses to recognise that his violent and threatening behaviour was unacceptable. Timmins clearly present a significant risk to members of the public with whom he enters into a relationship with. I am satisfied therefore that he does present a significant risk of harm to others and that he is dangerous in the eyes of the law.
“Individually and collectively these offences are so serious that only a custodial sentence can be justified. The least possible sentence I can impose having regard to the seriousness of the offences is a prison term of 12 years. This will be further extended for three years because of his dangerousness.”
The judge imposed a lifelong Sex Offenders registration requirement on Timmins and made a restraining order barring him from contacting two women by any means.”
Detective Constable Emma Jackson, who was given a commendation by Judge Lawrie for her work on the case, said after the hearing: “The victim has been so courageous in coming forward and supporting this case from the on-set of the investigation through the criminal justice process to its conclusion today.
“She has described, in very honest detail, the impact that this horrific offending has had on her.
“She has shown incredible strength and bravery and has received acknowledgment for what she was subjected to and I hope she can now begin to rebuild her life.
“I would also like to acknowledge the victim’s friends who recognised what was happening to her, took positive action and have shown immense support to her throughout the process.
“Timmins has shown no remorse for his offending against her, refusing to attend sentencing, and has continued to try and intimidate her to prevent him being brought to justice.
“The offending against this victim was incredibly serious, which has been recognised by the Courts today.
“Coercive control is a relatively new criminal offence but one that we take extremely seriously. It can be subtle, pervasive and hugely degrading, damaging the emotional and physical wellbeing of a victim.
“We encourage everyone to be aware of it and look out for it, whether in your own relationship, or the relationships of family or friends.
“If you recognise the signs, please call us or seek help from a third party like Gloucestershire Rape and Sexual Assault Clinic.”
Robert Readfern, the prosecuting lawyer from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “The victim really should be commended for her bravery in not only reporting the case but seeing it through to the end despite her clear fear of repercussions.
"Her determination and courage has really allowed justice to be done.”