Hemel Hempstead man pleads guilty to kidnap and rape after 'horrific' attack

The 26-year-old pleaded guilty to six charges

A man has pleaded guilty to a string of offences after a woman was attacked and raped in Hemel Hempstead.

Zachery Owens pleaded guilty to six charges

Zachery Owens pleaded guilty to six charges

Zachery Owens, 26, of Lawn Lane, Hemel Hempstead, appeared at Luton Crown Court yesterday (Monday, March 9) where he pleaded guilty to six charges, which all relate to one victim.

He pleaded guilty to rape of a female (two counts), assault of a female by penetration, kidnap, taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent and driving while disqualified.

He pleaded not guilty to charges of false imprisonment and inflicting grievous bodily harm respectively.

His defence team has asked for both charges to lie on file.

The charges relate to an incident at 7.30am on Tuesday, January 21, when a woman in her 20s was kidnapped on Farmhouse Lane as she walked to work.

Owens forced her into a BMW, which he had taken without the owner’s consent, and raped her twice in the vehicle before driving her to a block of flats in the Adeyfield area of the town.

Once inside, the victim had to jump from a second-floor balcony to escape her attacker.

She suffered serious injuries and was hospitalised as a result.

Owens fled before a member of the public went to the victim’s aid and called police, who arrived at the scene in less than five minutes.

Owens was arrested the following day (Wednesday, January 22) and charged in the early hours of Thursday, January 23.

Detective Inspector Phil Moss, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit (MCU), said: “This is a horrific case which justifiably shocked the community of Hemel Hempstead earlier this year.

"The victim has since astounded the entire MCU team with her bravery and composure throughout the investigation, and I would like to pay tribute to her publicly.

“She has enabled us to build a strong case against her attacker and with her help, Owens has appeared before court today.

"We now await the outcome of the sentencing next month.”

Owens has been remanded in custody ahead of sentencing, which has been scheduled for Friday, April 3, at Luton Crown Court.

Anyone in Hertfordshire who has experienced sexual abuse or sexual violence can contact the Herts Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) for practical and emotional support.

The centre can arrange face-to-face support, sexual health referrals, and provide forensic medical examinations for those who want them.

To contact Herts SARC, call the helpline on 0808 178 4448, or visit www.hertssarc.org.