Stock photo of police at Royal Pavilion Gardens
Police have issued a statement after two men were convicted of raping a teenager.
Ashley Lewis, 36, and Dylan Holden, 18, were found guilty of raping a 17-year-old girl in Royal Pavilion Gardens in Brighton.
Detective Constable Laura Pettitt said: “Women and girls should be able to go about their lives without falling victim to predatory men.
“I would like to thank the victim in this case for her incredible bravery and strength throughout the investigation and criminal justice process.
“Without her support, this prosecution would not have been possible and two dangerous individuals would not have been taken off the streets.”
Police received a call from a member of the public who had helped a girl in distress shortly before midnight on Wednesday, June 2, 2021.
She was in the company of Lewis and Holden and was “too drunk to walk or stand”.
Both men fled the scene shortly after being approached by two members of the public who helped the victim get home.
Officers spoke to the victim at her address the following day and a rape investigation was launched.
CCTV footage from the night of June 2 showed Lewis and Holden leading the victim to Pavilion Gardens, where she was raped.
Lewis was also captured on CCTV stealing the victim’s bag.
Both Lewis and Holden were arrested over the following two days.
Lewis was charged with rape, attempted rape, sexual assault and theft.
Holden was charged with rape, attempted rape and two counts of sexual assault.
On Friday, November 11, both men were found guilty of all charges except attempted rape after a four-week trial at Hove Crown Court.
They have been remanded in custody and will appear at Hove Crown Court for sentencing on Thursday, January 5, 2023.
Detective Constable Pettitt said: “I would also like to commend the members of the public who initially contacted the police for their role in securing this conviction and protecting a vulnerable girl from coming to further harm.
“Violence against women and girls will not be tolerated in Sussex and we will relentlessly pursue perpetrators, while continuing to employ safety initiatives alongside our community partners to make sure our county remains a safe place to live and visit.”