Chigwell man jailed for rape

A man, who sexually assaulted a woman in 2020 has been jailed after being found guilty of rape.

Colin Richard Higgins, 54 of Copperfield, Chigwell appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court today (Friday May 31) where he was sentenced to eight years in prison, concluding a four-year investigation by Essex Police Crime and Public Protection Command.

Essex Police received a report on June 17 2020 of a woman being seriously sexually assaulted the previous day. After assaulting her, Higgins said “you’re not going to call the police are you” before leaving.

Higgins was arrested on the day of the report and later charged with rape of a woman over 16 and two counts of breach of a restraining order.

Following a four-day trial at Chelmsford Crown Court which began on Monday, May 13, the jury found him guilty of rape and one count of breach of a restraining order.

He was found not guilty on one count of breach of a restraining order.

The judge ordered him to serve at least two thirds of his sentence. He was also issued with a restraining order.

Following the sentence, the victim bravely said the following: “I am pleased that the jury has given me a small measure of justice and recognition.

“I hope that this small victory can help other victims realise that there is hope for a conviction for sexual offences, as I know they have a low conviction rate.

“I am grateful to everyone, friends, family, the police, all the professionals who stayed with me throughout this experience and helped me in any way.”

Detective Constable Lauren Whitewell, investigating officer in the case said “Higgins put the victim through a horrendous ordeal, refusing to acknowledge what he had done and putting her through a long process to get her justice.

“Her patience and strength has been the driver behind this investigation and I hope that she is able to start moving forward with her life.

“We do not under-estimate the strength it takes for victims of sexual abuse to report but I can assure you that all reports are taken seriously and we encourage anyone who has been sexual abused to contact us.”

*Support is there for anyone affected by rape and sexual abuse, and no victim or survivor is alone. Synergy Essex provides specialist support for victims and survivors of rape and sexual abuse of all ages and all genders across Essex, Thurrock and Southend.

Synergy Essex is a partnership of rape and sexual abuse centres in Essex: CARA (Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse), SERICC Rape and Sexual Abuse Specialist Service and Southend-on-Sea Rape Crisis (SOS Rape Crisis). Synergy Essex is independent from the police and provides support for victims and survivors throughout their journey.

Victims and survivors can self-refer, or be referred by a parent, partner, friend or professional and can access specialist emotional support, counselling and advocacy.

For victims and survivors who report to the police, Synergy Essex provides an Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA) service, providing support throughout the criminal justice process.

For more information visit the Synergy Essex website: https://synergyessex.org.uk/