Rape victim, 15 ‘lived in fear’

Blake Richens
Blake Richens
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The 15-year-old victim of a brutal rape ‘lived in fear’ until her attacker was arrested for the ‘inexcusable’ crime, a detective has said.

Blake Richens, 22, of Bond Street, Blackpool, attacked the vulnerable girl after she asked for his help, at first saying he would take her to his friend’s house, before launching a terrifying sex attack in North Shore’s Claremont Park.

He was given a 12-year jail sentence after being convicted at Preston Crown Court of rape, attempted rape and sexual assault.

Richens had threatened to stab the girl with a knife and asked her: “Which would you prefer, life or death?”. He later blamed the crime on his alter ego, ‘Stephen’, suggesting another part of his personality was responsible for the crime

Speaking after the verdict Det Sgt Nick Denman of Lancashire Constabulary’s Force Major Investigation Team said: “This was clearly a terrifying ordeal for the girl, and her age and vulnerability made it even more serious. What he has done is inexcusable. It’s unusual in my experience for someone to create an alter ego in this way and to put responsibility for the crime on that person.

“This was an incredibly serious offence but to add that element to it I think made it even more frightening for the victim. If it’s possible, it probably added to the amount of terror she suffered.

“She had to live in fear until he was arrested and he then added to her ordeal by failing to admit his guilt and forcing her to give evidence about what happened in court.

“This is something which will affect her life and which will be difficult to come to terms with. But she is hopeful she can now move forward and obtain some sort of closure on the incident.”

Richens had told the jury in his evidence “When I am sober I am nice as pie. When I am drunk I’ll have a fight with boys, not girls, but the next day I’ll apologise”.

He had previous convictions for being drunk and disorderly, criminal damage and assaulting a police constable. During the trial he spoke of having black outs through drink.

Before he carried out the attack, he had been drinking and was on his way from South Shore to visit an ex girlfriend when he met his victim. In her summing up, Judge Heather Lloyd said it was no part of the defendant’s case that he was suffering any mental or delusional behaviour which caused him to reasonably believe she was consenting to sexual activity.

Passing sentence she said: “Aspects to your background I have found worrying, particularly the aspect of this alter ego of Steven. There is no significant mental or psychiatric or psychotic illness.

“It makes it all the more strange you would use this alter ego. Nevertheless, I accept you had a troubled and unhappy upbringing.”

Richens’ defence barrister John Woodward said his client had been affected by very strange behaviour someone had shown towards him at a tender age. Woodward added: “In recent years he had been drifting and it could be argued he lacks maturity.”

Det Sgt Denman added: “We are really pleased with the sentence which I think reflects the gravity of what a serious crime this was.

“The public should be reassured that a dangerous individual like Blake Richens, who approached and singled out a 15-year-old girl, has been removed from society.

“I know she is relieved the court case is over and is pleased that he was found guilty.”