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Home HAMPSHIRE A Portsmouth man was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual assaults on women in Waterlooville and West Sussex

A Portsmouth man was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual assaults on women in Waterlooville and West Sussex

 

Zackery Stephen Bell, 28, of South Avenue in Portsmouth, appeared in Portsmouth Crown Court last week (Thursday, June 23) for sentencing after pleading guilty to sexual assault.

The court heard how, on December 6, 2020, Bell went to the address of the Waterlooville victim, who was in her 20s at the time of the offence and is now 30, in relation to a Facebook Marketplace advertisement.

Once inside the house, Bell forcibly kissed the victim and inappropriately touched her over her clothing before being disturbed and leaving. He then messaged the victim on Facebook, inviting her to meet up again.

The incident was reported to police the following day, and an investigation was launched, leading to Bell’s arrest. Later, he was charged with sexual assault.

While on bail for the sexual assault, he went to live with a woman he knew in Chichester. He was supposed to spend the night on the sofa, but in the early hours of Boxing Day morning, he went into the victim’s bedroom while she was sleeping and sexually assaulted her. This roused the victim, who yelled at him to leave.

Bell was sentenced to a total of six years in prison, four years for the Sussex offence and two years for the Hampshire offence, as well as a ten-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order and a lifetime Restraining Order relating to both victims, and he will be on the sex offender register for life.

These were understandably extremely traumatic ordeals for the women involved,” said Detective Constable Keeka Crewe-Way of Hampshire Constabulary’s Eastern Criminal Investigation Department. “I cannot commend them enough for their courage and bravery in coming forward and telling us what happened, and for their strength throughout the criminal justice process.”

“We understand how difficult it is for people to report incidents like this, but with the assistance of these women, we were able to secure a guilty plea and bring this man to justice.”

“In today’s digital age, online marketplaces are very popular for buying and selling, and people should be able to use them safely, without the risk of people like Bell taking advantage of them.” I hope that this sentence gives these women some closure and allows them to move on with their lives.”

It took the victim a great deal of courage to come forward and report, as Bell was known to her and it was a very distressing situation for her,” said Detective Constable Jason Berney of the West Sussex Safegurding Investigations Unit. She did it, however, and he was successfully convicted, which is a testament to her determination.

“On top of that, she had to deal with the fact that Bell went on the run for a while, but he was tracked down, resulting in his capture and arrest.”

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